Castleman Disease – Symptoms, Diagnosis, & Treatment

Castleman Disease

The noncancerous growth of lymph node tissue is a symptom of Castleman disease. Unicentric, the more prevalent kind, frequently exhibits no symptoms. On the other hand, the less prevalent kind, multicentric, might result in a variety of symptoms.

Castleman Disease

The group of uncommon illnesses known as “Castleman disease” is characterized by an overactive immune system. In healthy individuals, the immune system becomes active to deal with infections such as bacteria or viruses.

But it then becomes inactive, observing and waiting for the next chance to fight. The immune system of those who have this disease stays active. Thus, this results in a persistent hyper-inflammatory condition that can harm several organs and potentially result in death.

One or more of your lymph nodes grow if you have Castleman disease. Moreover, they also do not merely grow in size. Your doctor can detect alterations in the tissue when they examine a biopsy sample of your lymph node under a microscope. Or a doctor does different staining analyses on it.


No symptoms or indicators are noticed by many individuals with unicentric Castleman disease. An imaging test for an underlying issue or a physical examination may reveal the swollen lymph node. Certain individuals with unicentric Castleman disease may have indications and symptoms that are more typical of multicentric Castleman disease, such as:

  • High temperature.
  • Unintentional loss of weight.
  • Fatigue.
  • Sweats during the night.
  • Enlarged spleen or liver.
  • The most prevalent locations for the swollen lymph nodes linked to multicentric Castleman disease are the neck, collarbone, underarm, and groin regions.

Diagnosis of Castleman Disease

It is typical for Unicentric to be identified by normal blood tests or testing for another ailment. Because Unicentric frequently exhibits no symptoms. During a physical examination, your doctor may also detect swelling in your lymph nodes. The symptoms of multicentric might resemble those of several other illnesses. Testing will assist in ruling out further medical issues.

The diagnosis process normally starts with a physical examination and blood tests, regardless of your Castleman type. In order to check for swollen lymph nodes throughout your body, your doctor may prescribe imaging studies. These examinations may consist of:

  • Radiography
  • Ultrasonography
  • CT scan
  • You may get a tissue biopsy if your lymph nodes are enlarged.

A medical expert will take a sample of tissue during a biopsy using a hollow needle. The sample will be examined under a microscope in order to verify the diagnosis.


What kind of Castleman illness you have will determine your course of treatment.

Unicentric Castleman Disease

Surgery to remove the afflicted lymph node is the only treatment for unicentric Castleman disease. It may be necessary to have significant surgery if the lymph node occurs in your chest or abdomen, which is frequently the case.

In the event that surgery is not an option, the lymph node may be reduced using medication. Another possible efficient method of destroying the damaged tissue is radiation treatment. To look for relapses, you will require imaging tests and follow-up checks.

Multicentric Castleman Disease

In order to reduce cell overgrowth, medications, and other treatments frequently play a role in the treatment of multicentric Castleman disease. The course of treatment for you will depend on the severity of your illness and whether you have an infection of HIV, HHV-8, or both. The treatment methods might involve the following:


Medication can prevent the function of protein overproduction in patients with multicentric Castleman disease.


This kind of medication has the ability to reduce lymphatic cell proliferation. If you suffer organ failure or the illness does not respond to immunotherapy, your doctor can advise adding chemotherapy.


Certain medications can help reduce inflammation.

Antiviral medicines

If you have HIV or HHV-8, or both, these medications can stop the viruses from acting.

The Bottom Line

Your lymph system will develop abnormal growths if you have Castleman illness. Your specific kind of Castleman disease will determine your symptoms and available treatments. The presence of other illnesses such as HIV or related diseases will also influence your experience.

You might simply require surgery & close observation in certain cases. Alternatively, in order to lower your chance of serious consequences, you might require a mix of therapies over the course of your lifetime. Find out from your doctor how your illness will affect your course of treatment.