Arch Dis Child 86:47-49 doi:10.1136/adc.86.1.47
  • Acute paediatrics

Polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis treated with methotrexate complicated by the development of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

  1. A G Cleary,
  2. H McDowell,
  3. J A Sills
  1. Royal Liverpool Children's Hospital NHS Trust, Eaton Road, Liverpool L12 2AP, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr A G Cleary, Royal Liverpool Children's Hospital NHS Trust, Eaton Road, Liverpool L12 2AP, UK;
  • Accepted 4 October 2001

A 10 year old boy with juvenile idiopathic arthritis is described. He was treated with methotrexate (MTX) for 2 years 8 months, and presented at routine review with hepatosplenomegaly and suspicious bilateral cervical lymphadenopathy, two months after discontinuing therapy. Magnetic resonance scan revealed significant lymphadenopathy around the upper abdominal aorta and coeliac axis. Lymph node biopsy was consistent with nonHodgkin's lymphoma, similar to that reported in several adults with rheumatic diseases taking low dose MTX therapy. He was successfully treated with a standard cytotoxic chemotherapy regime, but unfortunately his polyarthritis has subsequently flared some months after completion of his treatment.


Clinical findings

A 10 year old boy with a four year history of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) presented at routine review with bilateral non-tender but firm and suspicious cervical lymphadenopathy. He had hepatosplenomegaly. He had been treated with methotrexate (MTX) 7.5 mg per week, for 2 years 8 months; cumulative dose was 1042.5 mg. The MTX had been given by subcutaneous injection for four months prior to its discontinuation because of nausea associated with oral preparations. MTX had been discontinued two months prior to his presentation with lymphadenopathy as his arthritis had been quiescent for one year. He had also intermittently been treated with daily or alternate daily prednisolone throughout the period of his JIA, and with several intra-articular corticosteroid injections. There were no other co-morbid conditions.

He was admitted for urgent investigation. Full blood count, urea and electrolytes, and lactate dehydrogenase were normal. Serology indicated recent Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) infection, with IgG to EBV …