Vitreoretinal lymphomas misdiagnosed as uveitis: Lessons learned from a case series

Luca Cimino, Marco Coassin, Chi Chao Chan, Sylvia Marchi, Matteo Belpoliti, Andrea Fanti, Alfonso Iovieno, Luigi Fontana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To present challenging cases of vitreoretinal lymphoma (VRL) that was misdiagnosed as uveitis because of the apparent intraocular inflammation. At the light of the new classification of intraocular lymphomas, we detail the characteristics that masqueraded the tumors and the clinical aspects that guided us to the correct diagnosis. Materials and Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the patients referred to our uveitis service between January 2006 and December 2014. Results: Seven patients referred with a presumptive diagnosis of idiopathic uveitis received a final diagnosis of VRL. The median time between the onset of symptoms and definitive diagnosis was 25 months for these complex cases. The median time from presentation at our clinic to final diagnosis was 1 month. The described clinical features including dense vitreous cells and subretinal infiltrates were characteristic and tend to be present in all these chronically ill patients. Vitreous samples were collected, and all demonstrated the pathognomonic tumor cells, the specific immunoglobulin heavy chain gene rearrangements, and an interleukin (IL)-10 to IL-6 ratio >1. Conclusion: VRLs are severe diseases with a poor prognosis that may be misdiagnosed as idiopathic inflammatory conditions of the eye. Treatment with steroids may occult the tumors and delay the correct diagnosis. Appropriate evaluation may prompt to a timely vitreous sampling and therefore to a faster diagnosis in these peculiar cases where the correct diagnosis was delayed by several months.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-375
Number of pages7
JournalIndian Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2016


  • Diagnostic vitrectomy
  • Intraocular inflammation
  • Intraocular lymphoma
  • Subretinal infiltrates
  • Uveitis
  • Vitreoretinal lymphoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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