Castleman's disease (giant lymph node hyperplasia or angiofollicular lymphoid hyperplasia) is a rare lymphoproliferative disease of unknown origin, first described by Castleman's in 1954 [1
]. Castleman disease is a benign condition of unknown etiology characterized by proliferation of mature lymphocytes and/or plasma cells.
Castleman's disease can be divided into two further forms: the most common localized-solitary form and the less usual is the multicentric form. Approximately 80% of the cases of the solitary form belong to the hyaline-vascular type and the remaining 20% to the plasma cell type.
The usual location of the solitary mass is the mediastinum (70%), whereas the mesentery is very rarely involved. The hyaline vascular type predominates in the thorax and is rare in the mesentery [2
]. The enlarged lymph nodes are highly vascular [3
]. The widespread form of the disease is characterized by disseminated lymphadenopathy, is almost always associated with systemic symptoms such as fever, hematologic disorders including anemia and hyperglobulinemia, endocrinopathies or peripheral neuropathies, and is dominated by the plasma cell type [3
]. Association with other gastrointestinal diseases has been rarely reported [6
Most Castleman's disease lesions appear as nonspecific, well-defined hypoechoic masses on sonography. Sonography remains useful for the evaluation of cervical and axillary Castleman's diseases, in which the depiction of prominent peripheral vessels and penetrating feeding vessels on Doppler sonograms can suggest the diagnosis of this uncommon disease [7
]. On CT scan, Castleman's disease has been described as a well circumscribed homogeneous mass lesion with moderate to intense enhancement. The hyaline vascular type has a tendency to enhance more than the plasma cell type, due to the greater vascularity of the former [7
]. Calcification can occur in up to 50% of the cases, particularly those located in the pelvis [11
]. Unfortunately, these radiological features are not specific for Castleman's disease, as they can be observed in every lymphomatous tumor, benign or malignant, or other mesenteric masses. Hence the gold standard for diagnosis is pathological examination.
Castleman's disease has to be included in the differential diagnosis of every mass located in the mesentery, especially when the lesion shows the imaging features mentioned above, and if the patient is young, and if relevant medical history, an abnormal blood picture, and organomegaly are absent.