Inflammatory pseudotumor of lymph nodes: a study of 25 cases with emphasis on morphological heterogeneity

Hum Pathol. 1997 Mar;28(3):332-8. doi: 10.1016/s0046-8177(97)90132-5.


The clinicopathological and immunohistochemical findings in 25 cases of inflammatory pseudotumor of lymph nodes (IPT) are presented. The patients were 13 women and 12 men between 8 and 81 years of age. Clinically, symptoms of prior infection, fatigue, abdominal pain, weight loss, fever of unknown origin, pelvic inflammatory disease, or nausea and night sweats were obtained in 15 patients, whereas six patients presented with asymptomatic lymphadenopathy. In four additional patients, no clinical information was obtained. The involved nodes included cervical, supraclavicular, inguinal, mesenteric, and mediastinal lymph nodes. In two cases, there was synchronous involvement of separate lymph node groups (inguinal and cervical in one case and cervical and mediastinal in another case), whereas in a third patient there was synchronous involvement of the spleen and a paraaortic lymph node. Histologically, the lesions were characterized by a fibrosing/inflammatory process that showed marked heterogeneity and striking variation from case to case. Based on their histological features, the lesions could be classified into three different groups: Stage I was characterized by the appearance of single or multiple small foci containing a spindle cell proliferation admixed with a prominent inflammatory background, with complete preservation of the remainder of the nodal architecture; stage II was characterized by more diffuse involvement of the lymph node with a marked inflammatory response admixed with a prominent myofibroblastic proliferation leading to subtotal effacement of the nodal architecture, often with extension of the process beyond the capsule into perinodal fat; and stage III was characterized by almost complete replacement of the lymph node by diffuse sclerosis with scant residual inflammatory elements and total loss of the normal nodal architecture. Immunohistochemical studies in 20 cases showed a striking number of vimentin- and actin-positive myofibroblastic cells with moderate increase in CD20/CD45+ small lymphocytes and polyclonal plasma cells in the stage I lesions, the emergence of numerous CD68+ histiocytes admixed with lymphocytes, plasma cells, and abundant fibromyofibroblastic cells in the stage II lesions, and only few remaining scattered CD68+ histiocytes and fibroblasts in the stage III lesions. Our findings suggest that inflammatory pseudotumor of lymph node represents an evolving, dynamic process that may adopt different morphological appearances depending on its stage of evolution. Recognition of the various stages of this process may be of importance for differential diagnosis with other fibrosing/inflammatory conditions of lymph nodes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism
  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic / metabolism
  • Child
  • Female
  • Granuloma, Plasma Cell / diagnosis
  • Granuloma, Plasma Cell / metabolism
  • Granuloma, Plasma Cell / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens / metabolism
  • Lymphatic Diseases / diagnosis
  • Lymphatic Diseases / metabolism
  • Lymphatic Diseases / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Vimentin / metabolism


  • Actins
  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic
  • CD68 antigen, human
  • Vimentin
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens