About Castleman’s Disease
Castleman’s Disease (CD) was originally described by Dr. Benjamin Castleman. Castleman’s Disease is a group of uncommon lymphoproliferative disorders that share common lymph node histological features. A lymphoproliferative disorder is a condition in which a weakened immune system results in the body producing an excessive amount of lymphocytes (a subtype of white blood cells).
There are two types of Castleman’s Disease: Unicentric and Multicentric. Unicentric Castleman’s Disease is localized to a single lymph node. Multicentric Castleman’s Disease occurs systemically, throughout multiple lymph nodes.
Castleman’s Disease is not officially classified as a cancer, however some of the characteristics of the disease relates it closely to lymphoma (including the excessive production of lymphocytes).
A Closer Look At Unicentric Castleman’s Disease (UCD)
Unicentric Castleman’s Disease is a very curable disorder. The symptoms are usually non-existent, except for an extreme swelling of the lymph node. Because the disorder is isolated to a single lymph node, a removal of the lymph node almost always cures this type of Castleman’s Disease.
A Closer Look At Multicentric Castleman’s Disease (MCD)
Multicentric Casteman’s Disease involves many more symptoms and is more complicated to treat. In addition to the intense swelling of lymph nodes, you might experience fever, night sweats, loss of appetite, fatigue, weakness, and problems with other organs (i.e. liver and spleen).
There are two subsets of Multicentric Castleman’s Disease: HHV-8-associated MCD and HHV-8-negative MCD. Each subset accounts for about 50% of MCD diagnoses.
HHV-8-associated MCD is closely related to HIV diagnosis (many patients with this type of MCD are HIV-positive) and has “plasmablastic” lymph node features.
HHV-8-negative MCD, referred as idiopathic MCD, is less uniform in it’s features. While the cause in the excessive immune productions in hhV-8-associated MCD patients is identifiable, the cause is NOT identifiable in idopathic MCD patients.