Pulmonary Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans infection masquerades as malignancy in a patient with periodontitis

Emma Turner, Thomas Hastie, Pritam Daniel Sundaresan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A 49-year-old man with a 37.5 pack-year smoking history presented with a suspected neoplasm of the right lung following the discovery of a metabolically active mass on positron emission tomography-CT imaging. The patient, who demonstrated poor oral hygiene, had a history of irregular problem-oriented dental visitation. Having excluded malignancy through histologic investigations, Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans - a well-established periodontal pathogen - was subsequently cultured from his pulmonary aspirate. The patient was therefore managed with systemic antimicrobials and adjunctive dental extractions to eliminate the likely source of infection, whereafter the mass resolved without complication. This case corroborates previous reports of extraoral isolation of A. actinomycetemcomitans, which may mimic cancer clinically and radiographically. While a definitive causative link between untreated periodontitis and systemic infection remains to be elucidated, such cases present a compelling argument in favour of promoting oral health to prevent systemic disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere239636
JournalBMJ Case Reports
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021

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