Dramatic Radiotherapy Response in a Necrotic Lymphoma Mass

A Case Report

Nicholas McNeil; Peter Gorayski; Danielle Blunt; Daniel Roos


J Med Case Reports. 2020;14(118) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) represents the most common form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and is characterized by an aggressive natural history. It often presents with rapid symptom development and disease progression. Most lymphomas are inherently radiosensitive, which allows for effective disease control from relatively low radiation doses. We report a case of a dramatic radiotherapy response in a necrotic diffuse large B-cell lymphoma mass in an elderly patient with early-stage diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, illustrating the potential for palliative radiotherapy to reduce disease burden in patients not fit for systemic therapy. There is no current consensus recommendation for radiotherapy treatment in this setting.

Case Presentation: A 97-year-old Caucasian woman presented to the emergency department of our institution with a painful, malodorous, necrotic right upper neck mass, which had progressed over a two-month period. Investigations confirmed stage 1A diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Palliative radiotherapy was delivered to a dose of 25 Gray (Gy) in five fractions on alternate days over two consecutive weeks. After four months, the mass completely resolved with no residual symptoms.

Conclusion: Dramatic responses resulting in durable local control and improvement in quality of life are achievable with palliative radiotherapy, owing to the radiosensitivity of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.