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Am J Med. 1975 Dec;59(6):803-18.

Angio-immunoblastic lymphadenopathy. Diagnosis and clinical course.


The clinical and pathologic findings in 24 patients with "angio-immunoblastic lymphadenopathy with dysproteinemia" (AILD) are presented. The patients' ages ranged from 44 to 80 years, with a median age of 68 years. The disease has an acute onset. In many respects, the clinical presentation is suggestive of malignant lymphoma. Generalized lymphadenopathy was always present. Hepatomegaly was found in 20 patients, splenomegaly in 17, constitutional symptoms in 20 and skin rashes in nine. Twenty patients had anemia, with positive Coombs' test in eight of 14 tested. Polyclonal hypergammaglobulinemia was found in 17 of 22 patients. Two patterns of evolution were recognizable: (1) long survival (24 to 67 months) without treatment or after the administration of intensive combination chemotherapy; and (2) rapid progression (one to 19 months) regardless of the treatment given. Sixteen patients died; postmortem examination in 10 cases showed the cause of death to be attributable to severe infection in eight patients, to renal disease in one and to cardiovascular disease in one. No evidence of malignant lymphoma was seen in any of these autopsies. Histologically, the disease is systemic, with specific lesions in the lymph nodes. The spleen, liver, bone marrow, skin and lung are also involved, but the changes are less characteristic than in the lymph nodes. In the patients in whom sequential biopsies were performed, a trend toward restoration of the nodal architecture was observed. AILD is a clinical-pathologic entity in a spectrum of yet to be defined immune reactions. The clinical, laboratory and pathologic manifestations of AILD are consistent with an autoimmune disorder, in which a deficiency of the T-cell regulatory functions probably predisposes to an abnormal proliferative and autoaggressive reaction of the B-cell system. Surgical staging procedures do not appear to be indicated. Intensive cytotoxic treatment may be hazardous in some patients, precipitating their death, but long survival after such therapy has been observed in others. Supportive therapy and small doses of steroids appear to be a safer therapeutic approach.

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