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J Rheumatol. 1997 Oct;24(10):2035-7.

Hodgkin's lymphoma in systemic onset juvenile rheumatoid arthritis after treatment with low dose methotrexate.

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Paediatric Department B, Chaim Sheba Medical Centre, Tel Aviv University Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Hashomer, Israel.


We describe the occurrence of malignant lymphoma as a possible complication of immunosuppression associated with low dose methotrexate (MTX) therapy for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). A 6-year-old girl with systemic onset JRA who had received low dose MTX therapy for 16 months developed diffuse peripheral lymphadenopathy and enlargement of the lymph nodes in the mediastinum, hilum of the lungs, and liver. Lymph node histology disclosed mixed cellularity Hodgkin's lymphoma; the neoplastic cells were positive for CD30 and CD15, but negative for Epstein-Barr virus RNA or EBV latent membrane protein. After chemotherapy, the girl had complete remission of her disease lasting for 18 months; however, the disease relapsed and autologous peripheral stem cell transplantation was performed. Although the occurrence of lymphoma may be associated with autoimmune diseases, our observations suggest that in pediatric patients, the increasing use of low dose MTX therapy for JRA may be an additional factor for the development of lymphoproliferative disease.

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