Pneumothorax associated with lymphoma

A. Yellin, J. R. Benfield

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19 Scopus citations


Pneumothorax in patients with lymphoma has rarely been reported. We have encountered 8 patients with lymphoma with 17 episodes of pneumothorax; these episodes occurred 3 months to 8 yr in 7 patients after the diagnosis of Hodgkin's disease (HD) and in 1 patient with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL).The observed incidence of pneumothorax among 1,977 patients with lymphoma was 10-fold higher than expected; this included a significantly higher incidence in patients younger than 30 versus those older than 30 yr of age (1:552 versus 1:5,788 patient years, p < 0.001), and a higher incidence in patients with HD than in those with NHL (1:708 versus 1:5,072 patient-years, p < 0.005). There was a strong suggestion of increased risk for pneumothorax in patients treated with radiotherapy as compared with patients treated without irradiation (1:1,016 versus 0:1,963 patient-years, p = 0.065). Apparent additional contributing factors in 6 patients were lung involvement with lymphoma (n = 2), radiation fibrosis (n = 3), and infection (n = 1). Pneumothorax was persistent in 5 patients, bilateral in 4, and recurrent in 2. The occurrence of pneumothorax in 2 patients heralded death. Management commonly required placement of chest tube (n = 9) or major surgical procedures (n = 5). We conclude that pneumothorax may be more common among patients with lymphoma than previously appreciated. Young age, HD, and probably radiotherapy are predisposing factors. The pneumothoraces associated with lymphoma are more complex and ominous and more difficult to manage than the usual spontaneous pneumothorax. In patients with lympohoma, pneumothorax is likely to be secondary to underlying abnormality of the lung.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)590-592
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Review of Respiratory Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes


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