DOI: 10.1097/md.0000000000037400 ISSN: 0025-7974

B-cell lymphoma with cytokine storm in serosal effusion: A case report and literature review

Xiaoli Zhang, Xueze Shi, Xixi Liu, Chencheng Li, Zuqiong Xu, Xingbin Dai, Bangyun Ma, Xuejun Zhu
  • General Medicine


Cytokine storm is now considered to be a systemic inflammatory response, but local cytokine storm may exist in systemic diseases of the blood system. Monitoring of regional cytokine storm is an important clue for the diagnosis of systemic diseases.

Patient concerns:

A 72-years-old male presented to our hospital with multiple serosal effusion without solid mass or enlarged lymph nodes. We found that the level of cytokines in ascites was tens to hundreds of times higher than that in plasma, mainly IL-6 and IL-8.


The patient was diagnosed with multiple serous effusion, hemophagocytic syndrome, B-cell lymphoma, Epstein–Barr virus infection, and hypoproteinemia.


During hospitalization, the patient was treated with 5 courses of R-CVEP therapy and supportive treatment.


After the first R-CVEP regimen, the patient’s condition was evaluated as follows: hemophagocytic syndrome improved: no fever; Serum triglyceride 2.36 mmol/L; Ferritin 70.70 ng/L; no hemophagocyte was found in the bone marrow; the lymphoma was relieved, ascites disappeared, and bone marrow cytology showed: the bone marrow hyperplasia was reduced, and small platelet clusters were easily seen. Bone marrow flow cytometry showed that lymphocytes accounted for 13.7%, T cells increased for 85.7%, CD4/CD8 = 0.63, B cells decreased significantly for 0.27%, and NK cells accounted for 10.2%. Blood routine returned to normal: WBC 5.27 × 109/L, HB 128 g/L, PLT 129 × 109/L; Epstein–Barr virus DNA < 5.2E + 02 copies/mL; correction of hypoproteinemia: albumin 39.7 g/L.


Cytokines in ascites are significantly higher than those in plasma by tens to hundreds of times, suggesting that “regional cytokine storms” may cause serosal effusion.

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