Mycobacterial tuberculosis superimposed on a Warthin tumor

April 30, 2012
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Abstract

The concomitant occurrence of tuberculosis infection within a Warthin tumor is extremely rare, as only 6 cases have been previously reported in the English-language literature. We report a new case in a 92-year-old man, who presented with a 20-year history of a painless swelling in the right infra-auricular area that had recently become painful and larger. The patient had no history of tuberculosis, weight loss, or chronic cough. The fluctuant mass was aspirated, but histopathology and routine culture were negative. Computed tomography identified a 5-cm, heterogeneous, enhancing mass with multiple, variably sized, low-density areas without surrounding edema in the area of the right parotid gland. Complete excision was performed to relieve the patient's symptoms. Histopathology diagnosed an acid-fast bacillus infection within a Warthin tumor. On polymerase chain reaction testing, formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue was negative for tuberculosis, but subsequent culture identified Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Initially, the patient refused antituberculosis therapy, but he relented when miliary pulmonary tuberculosis was diagnosed 11 weeks postoperatively.

Introduction

Warthin tumor is the second most common tumor of the parotid gland.1 It has both epithelial and lymphoid components.1 Parotid tuberculosis (TB) is an uncommon clinical entity, accounting for only 2.8% of all parotid diseases.2 To the best of our knowledge, only 6 cases of TB infection within a Warthin tumor have been reported in the English-language literature.

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