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01.12.2014 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

Journal of Medical Case Reports 1/2014

Posterior mediastinal ganglioneuroma with peripheral replacement by white and brown adipocytes resulting in diagnostic fallacy from a false-positive 18F-2-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose-positron emission tomography finding: a case report

Journal of Medical Case Reports > Ausgabe 1/2014
Kenji Yorita, Akihiro Yonei, Takanori Ayabe, Hiroshi Nakada, Ken Nakashima, Tsuyoshi Fukushima, Hiroaki Kataoka
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1752-1947-8-345) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

KY carried out pathological diagnosis on the surgically resected sample, analyzed data, and had a major contribution in writing the manuscript. AY and TA performed clinical examination and surgical treatment. HN performed radiological diagnosis. KN performed clinical follow-up and obtained informed consent from the patient. TF and HK performed pathological diagnosis of the biopsy specimen. All authors have read and approved the final version of the manuscript.



Ganglioneuroma is a rare tumor in the posterior mediastinum; fat-containing ganglioneuromas are rarely reported. The present case report documents a brown fat-containing, posterior mediastinal ganglioneuroma, which has not been reported previously. Radiological examination, in particular 18F-2-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose-positron emission tomography, suggested that the tumor had low-grade malignant potential. This led to uncertainty at preoperative diagnosis.

Case presentation

An asymptomatic 66-year-old Japanese woman with no significant past medical history was referred for the evaluation of a posterior mediastinal mass. Although its size had not changed in the past 5 years, a malignant lipomatous tumor could not be excluded due to the presence of intratumoral fat and increased 18F-2-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose uptake observed by positron emission tomography imaging. A computed tomography-guided core-needle biopsy revealed a mixture of mature adipocytes, spindle-shaped cells, and fibrotic stroma. Definite diagnosis was not possible, and surgical resection was performed. Three years after the surgery, she remains disease-free.


Histological diagnosis of the surgically resected mass confirmed ganglioneuroma with substantial amounts of white and brown adipose tissues in peripheral areas. The existence of both ganglion cells and brown fat tissue intensified the accumulation of 18F-2-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose, resulting in a false-positive result by positron emission tomography. Considering this, ganglioneuroma should not be excluded either clinically or pathologically in fat-containing, posterior mediastinal tumors.

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