Secondary involvement of gallbladder by acute lymphoblastic leukemia presenting clinically as cholecystitis in a young patient: A case report

Document Type

Case Report


Pathology and Laboratory Medicine


Background: Primary lymphoma of the liver, gallbladder, and extrahepatic bile ducts or secondary involvement of these organs by leukemia is exceedingly rare. Patients with primary lymphoma or leukemic involvement of the biliary tract and liver often present with symptoms and signs of biliary tract obstruction or inflammation.
Case presentation: We present a case of a 24-year-old male with biliary tract symptoms who underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy. His precholecystectomy complete blood count performed on the same morning showed 72% lymphocytes while peripheral blood smears showed approximately 15% blasts. Surgeon went ahead with the procedure. Imaging done prior to surgery showed thickened gallbladder, while the liver, biliary tract, and pancreas did not show any thickening or mass lesion. However, the liver was enlarged. Grossly, the gallbladder wall did not show any stones or discrete mass involving the wall. Instead, there was subtle thickening of the gallbladder wall due to diffuse infiltration by the leukemic infiltrate. This lymphoid population reacted with PAX-5 and TdT immunohistochemical antibodies in a diffuse manner confirming precursor B-cell origin. This patient was found to have B-lymphoblastic leukemia involving his bone marrow on further clinical and diagnostic workup. Patient responded well to chemotherapy and is currently on maintenance treatment. He is well 1.5 years after his diagnosis.
Conclusion: This case highlights a unique and rare scenario where a previously undiagnosed and unsuspected hematologic malignancy initially presented with clinical features of a chronic inflammatory condition involving an abdominal organ owing to secondary involvement by the malignant infiltrate


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Publication (Name of Journal)

World journal of surgical oncology