Mycobacterial tuberculosis superimposed on a Warthin tumor | Ear, Nose & Throat Journal Skip to content Skip to navigation

Mycobacterial tuberculosis superimposed on a Warthin tumor

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May 1, 2012
by Kang-Chao Wu, MD; Bo-Nien Chen, MD


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.

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