Treatment of Localized (Unicentric) Castleman Disease

Surgery is the recommended treatment for people with localized Castleman disease (CD) whenever possible. Removing the abnormal lymph node(s) usually cures the disease. Symptoms such as fever and fatigue that are caused by the CD go away when the lymph node is removed. Relapses are rare.

Sometimes if the diseased area is too large to be removed by surgery, medicines such as corticosteroids or rituximab might be given first. This can shrink the tumor and make it easier to remove.

Radiation can also be used to treat localized CD, either in people who can’t have surgery for some reason or if surgery cannot remove all of the disease. But radiation is not used as often as surgery as the main treatment.

Some patients with localized CD develop secondary amyloidosis, a condition in which abnormal proteins build up in the kidneys, skin, and some other organs. This protein build-up stops once the lymph node(s) affected by CD is removed.

The outlook for localized CD is very good if the affected lymph node(s) can be removed with surgery (or treated with radiation). But sometimes not all of the disease can be removed or treated safely. This doesn’t necessarily mean it will continue to grow and get worse. Even partial removal may help, and the disease may not grow back.

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Last Revised: February 5, 2018

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