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Secondary Syphilis Presenting as a Generalized Lymphadenopathy: Clinical Mimicry of Malignant Lymphoma

Park, Seong Yeon MD*; Kang, Jung Hyun MD*; Roh, Ji Hyeon MD; Huh, Hee Jin MD; Yeo, Jeong Seok MD§; Kim, Do Yeun PhD, MD*

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: June 2013 - Volume 40 - Issue 6 - p 490–492
doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e3182897eb0
Case Report

The diagnosis of syphilis remains challenging. The absence of classical features of the disease, such as the rash of secondary syphilis or genital lesion, may pose diagnostic difficulties. In this article, we report a case of secondary syphilis in which the clinical syndrome and pattern of fluorodeoxyglucose uptake mimicked malignant lymphoma. This case highlights the importance of thorough history taking including sexual contact. Clinicians should be alert for syphilis-underlying unexplained lymphadenopathy, even in the absence of typical rash or genital lesion.

The authors report a case of secondary syphilis with generalized lymphadenopathy that mimicked lymphoma on clinical syndrome and fluorodeoxyglucose–positron emission tomography imaging. This is a first case report of secondary syphilis with fluorodeoxyglucose–positron emission tomography findings.

From the Departments of *Internal Medicine; †Pathology; ‡Laboratory Medicine; and §Nuclear Medicine, Dongguk University Ilsan Hospital, University of Dongguk College of Medicine, Goyang-si, Republic of Korea.

The polymerase chain reaction assay for Treponema pallidum was performed in Samkwang Medical Laboratories.

Conflict of interest: There are no potential conflicts of interest for any authors. No author received any financial support.

Correspondence: Do Yeun Kim, PhD, MD, Department of Internal Medicine, Divisions of Hematology and Oncology, Dongguk University Ilsan Hospital, University of Dongguk College of Medicine, Siksa-dong, Ilsandong-gu, Goyang-si, Republic of Korea. E-mail:

Received for publication July 29, 2012, and accepted January 23, 2013.

© Copyright 2013 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association