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Acta Cytol. 2004 Jul-Aug;48(4):547-50.

Cytopathologic and genetic diagnosis of pulmonary amebiasis: a case report.

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Department of Tumor Pathology, Gifu University School of Medicine, Gifu, Japan.



Amebiasis is a parasitic infection with Entamoeba histolytica. Pulmonary amebiasis is rare since the infection is commonly manifested as amebic colitis or liver abscess. Most pleuropulmonary amebiasis is seen in patients with amebic liver abscesses. A pulmonary amebic lesion without either a liver abscess or amebic colitis is extremely rare. Thus, reported cases of sputum cytologic diagnosis of a pulmonary amebic lesion from a patient without a liver abscess are also very rare.


A 53-year-old man presented with a dry cough and mild fever. Chest radiography revealed an abnormal solitary mass lesion in the right upper lung field. The clinical diagnosis was a bacterial lung abscess. Sputum cytologic examination demonstrated many trophozoites of E. histolytica. Following sputum cytodiagnosis, serologic tests revealed a slightly high but almost normal titer of IgG antibodies to E. histolytica, indicating the possible presence of the pathogen. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using E. histolytica-specific primers for DNA extracted from the sputum sample revealed specific DNA product.


Pulmonary amebiasis without either a liver abscess or amebic colitis must be distinguished from bacterial abscesses and neoplastic disease. A sputum cytologic examination combined with PCR for DNA extracted from a sputum sample is a good approach to the diagnosis of a pulmonary amebic abscess.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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