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BMJ Case Rep. 2017 Aug 22;2017. pii: bcr-2017-220549. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2017-220549.

Primary adrenal lymphoma with initial presentation concerning for bilateral adrenal pheochromocytomas.

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Department of Endocrinology, Toowoomba Health Service, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia.


Primary adrenal non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is rarely encountered. Clinical presentation is non-specific with fatigue, abdominal pain and B-symptoms being more commonly reported. We report a case of primary bilateral adrenal lymphoma who initially presented with clinical features suspicious for pheochromocytoma. The patient was recently diagnosed with hypertension and had a family history of early ischaemic heart disease. Plasma free metanephrines were also elevated. Pheochromocytoma was deemed unlikely following multiple investigations and the diagnosis of lymphoma was made following adrenal biopsy. Partial response was noted on positron emission tomography CT scan following four cycles of chemotherapy but failed to remit after six cycles of chemotherapy. Subsequently, he received 20 fractions of radiation to his adrenal glands and is now awaiting further imaging. The presentation of primary adrenal lymphoma can be variable and given that the diagnosis is obtained through tissue sampling, pheochromocytoma should be excluded due to risk of a potentially fatal adrenergic crisis.


adrenal disorders; endocrine system; haematology (incl blood transfusion); medical education


Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: None declared.

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