Treatment of unicentric and multicentric Castleman disease and the role of radiotherapy

Gregory M. Chronowski, Chul S. Ha, Richard B. Wilder, Fernando Cabanillas, John Manning, James D. Cox

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258 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. Although surgery is considered standard therapy for unicentric Castleman disease, favorable responses to radiotherapy also have been documented. The authors undertook this study to analyze the clinical factors, treatment approaches, and outcomes of patients with unicentric or multicentric Castleman disease, and to report the outcomes of patients with unicentric Castleman disease treated with radiotherapy. METHODS. The authors reviewed the medical records of 22 patients who had received a histologic diagnosis of Castleman disease at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center between 1988 and 1999. One patient with a concurrent histopathologic diagnosis of nonsecretory multiple myeloma was excluded from the study. In all patients, the diagnosis of Castleman disease was based on the results of lymph node biopsies. Disease was categorized as being either unicentric or multicentric and further subdivided into hyaline vascular, plasma cell, or mixed variant histologic types. Clinical variables and outcomes were analyzed according to treatment, which consisted of surgery, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy. RESULTS. Records from 21 patients were analyzed: 12 had unicentric disease, and 9 had multicentric disease. The mean follow-up time for the entire series was 51 months (median, 40 months). Four patients with unicentric disease were treated with radiotherapy alone: 2 remain alive and symptom free, 2 died of causes unrelated to Castleman disease and had no evidence of disease at last follow-up. Eight patients with unicentric disease were treated with complete or partial surgical resection, and all are alive and asymptomatic. All nine patients with multicentric disease were treated with combination chemotherapy: five are alive with no evidence of disease, and four are alive with progressive disease. CONCLUSIONS. Surgery results in excellent rates of cure in patients with unicentric Castleman disease; radiotherapy can also achieve clinical response and cure in selected patients. Multicentric Castleman disease is a more aggressive clinical entity and is most effectively treated with combination chemotherapy, whereas the role of radiotherapy in its treatment remains unclear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)670-676
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2001


  • Castleman disease
  • Chemotherapy
  • Multicentric
  • Radiotherapy
  • Unicentric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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