Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

People with unicentric Castleman disease often notice no signs or symptoms. The diseased lymph node may be found during screening or treatment for another illness.

If unicentric or multicentric Castleman disease is suspected, your doctor is likely to start with a thorough physical examination of your lymph nodes, to determine their size and consistency.

Your doctor may then recommend:

  • Blood and urine tests, to help rule out other infections or diseases. These tests can also reveal anemia and abnormalities in blood proteins that are sometimes characteristic of Castleman disease.
  • Imaging tests, to detect enlarged lymph nodes, liver or spleen. CT scan or MRI of your neck, chest, abdomen and pelvis may be used. Positron emission tomography (PET) scans also may be used to diagnose Castleman disease and to assess whether a treatment is effective.
  • Lymph node biopsy, to differentiate Castleman disease from other types of lymphatic tissue disorders, such as lymphoma. A tissue sample from an enlarged lymph node is removed and examined in the laboratory. Depending on the location of the lymph node, the biopsy may be done under local anesthesia or during more extensive surgery.
Aug. 27, 2014