Mistaken clinical and pathologic diagnoses of Hodgkin's disease: A Southwest Oncology Group Study

T. P. Miller, G. E. Byrne, S. J. Jones

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34 Scopus citations


Expert hematopathology review of initial diagnostic material was required for patients registered in a Southwest Oncology Group trial of advanced Hodgkin's disease (HD). Of 287 cases reviewed, 36 (13%) had been misdiagnosed as HD. The clinical and histologic features of the first 180 patients reviewed by the expert panel, including 21 (12%) patients for whom errors in diagnosis were discovered, were retrospectively analyzed to ascertain why mistakes in diagnosis had occurred. The most common error in pathologic interpretation was to confuse other malignant lymphomas with HD (14/21 patients), particularly large cell lymphomas with pleomorphic features and Reed-Sternberg-like cells. Rare conditions (Lennert's lymphoma or angioimmunoblastic lymphadenopathy) were also confused with HD. Mixed-cellularity and lymphocyte-depleted HD were the most frequently mistaken cells types (14/21 patients) and nodular-sclerosing HD was the least frequently mistaken (two of 21). The clinical features of these 21 patients showed a high incidence of unusual extranodal sites of disease involvement including thyroid (one patient), ovary (one), skin (two), bone (three), and lung (seven). We next analyzed the clinical features of the remaining 107 cases in order to prospectively identify, based on atypical clinical presentations, patients who might not have HD. Subequent histologic review revealed mistaken diagnosis in 15 patients (14%). Eight of the 15 patients (53%) were correctly identified as having disease other than HD on the basis of clinical presentation alone. Atypical clinical presentations, particularly unusual extranodal sites of disease along with a presumptive diagnosis of mixed cellularity or lymphocyte-depleted HD, should forewarn the clinician and the pathologist of a possible error in diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)645-651
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Treatment Reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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