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01.12.2017 | Case Report | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Multidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine 1/2017

Second lung malignancy and Richter syndrome in chronic lymphocytic leukemia: case report and literature review

Multidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine > Ausgabe 1/2017
Ghassen Soussi, Selsabil Daboussi, Samira Mhamdi, Zied Moatemri, Hela Ghedira, Chiraz Aichaouia, Mohsen Khadhraoui, Faouzi El Mezni, Rezaik Cheikh



Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most frequent lymphoproliferative disease. Transformation into Richter disease and occurrence of second malignancies involving the lungs are rare complications. The hallmarks of any thoracic involvement are still unknown.

Case presentation

We report a case of a 56-year-old male patient, with history of tobacco smoking, who presented with recurrent hemoptysis, fatigue and weight loss. Physical examination was normal except a slightly enlarged supraclavicular lymph node. Chest x-ray revealed a mediastinal widening due to enlarged paratracheal nodes and a left parahilar infiltrate. Blood tests showed a hyperlymphocytosis and a biological inflammatory syndrome. CT scan showed bilateral mediastinal and axillary lymphadenopathy, as well as left supraclavicular lymphadenopathy, with a left upper lobe alveolar attenuation and a solitary contralateral pulmonary nodule. Examination of Virchow’s node and bone marrow biopsies confirmed metastasis of a pulmonary adenocarcinoma, as well as chronic lymphocytic leukemia with Richter’s transformation. The clinical course was unfavorable since the first days of therapy as the patient passed away in a matter of a few days.


Steady surveillance of CLL patients and systematic screening for second solid tumors, particularly lung cancer, and Richter’s transformation seem to be relevant more than ever. Early diagnosis might help us understand the pathways leading to these complications and adapt therapy.
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