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March 1984

Variably Acid-Fast Bacteria in a Fatal Case of Hodgkin's Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, Kaiser Foundation Hospital and Southern California Permanente Medical Group, Los Angeles (Dr Cantwell and Mr Kelso), and Central Diagnostic Laboratories of California, Tarzana, (Mr Kelso).

Arch Dermatol. 1984;120(3):401-402. doi:10.1001/archderm.1984.01650390123030

The cause of Hodgkin's disease (HD) is unknown. Various investigators have reported that non-acid-fast forms of the tubercle bacillus, pleomorphic diphtheroid bacilli (corynebacteria), and cocci derived from both acid-fast and non-acid-fast bacilli are associated with this disease.1 Nevertheless, such bacteria have been generally regarded as either "secondary invaders" or as "contaminants." Cantwell1 has recently demonstrated pleomorphic, variably acid-fast bacteria in vivo in four cases of HD. The finding of bacteria in an additional case of HD is presented herein.

Report of a Case  A 56-year-old man noticed a swelling of the right preauricular area in July 1979, which was treated successfully with tetracycline hydrochloride. Shortly thereafter, a new area of swelling developed in the right submandicular area, which was also treated successfully with ampicillin trihydrate and cloxacillin sodium. In November 1979, histopathologic examination of an enlarged right axillary node disclosed findings consistent with a diagnosis of HD, nodular sclerosing

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