Comparison of the clinical characteristics of TAFRO syndrome and idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease in general internal medicine: a 6-year retrospective study

Yoshito Nishimura, Yoshihisa Hanayama, Nobuharu Fujii, Eisei Kondo, Fumio Otsuka

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Background: Although thrombocytopenia, anasarca, fever, reticulin fibrosis and organomegaly (TAFRO) syndrome was first described as a variant of idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease (CD), patients with TAFRO syndrome demonstrate more aggressive clinical features. Because these patients may present with fever of unknown origin, general physicians need to recognise its characteristic laboratory data and clinical features during hospitalisation. Aims: to describe the features, symptoms and characteristics of TAFRO syndrome and to compare them to those of idiopathic CD. Methods: This was a retrospective study of patients with histopathologically confirmed TAFRO syndrome and idiopathic multicentric CD who were diagnosed and managed between April 2012 and June 2018 in a Japanese university hospital's General Medicine Department. Results: We found that the hospitalisations were significantly longer among patients with TAFRO syndrome compared to those with idiopathic CD (median: 87 days; range: 34–236 days vs median: 30 days; range: 13–59 days; P < 0.01). Patients with TAFRO syndrome were more likely to present with fever, abdominal pain and elevated inflammatory markers and be misdiagnosed with an infectious disease during the first hospital visit. Approximately 40% of patients with TAFRO syndrome had no radiographically enlarged lymph nodes. Conclusions: TAFRO syndrome may present as an infectious disease with an aggressive clinical course. Our study highlights the importance of giving significance to chief complaints and laboratory data. Physicians need to recognise the clinical and laboratory features of this disease to avoid missing this potentially fatal disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-191
Number of pages8
JournalInternal Medicine Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2020



  • Castleman disease
  • chief complaint
  • immunoglobulin
  • procalcitonin
  • TAFRO syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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