Disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex infection mimicking malignancy in a patient with anti-IFN-γautoantibodies: A case report

Yun Kai Yeh, Jing Ya Ding, Cheng Lung Ku, Wei Chih Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Disseminated nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) infections occur mostly in immunocompromised patients. Therefore, it is difficult to diagnose disseminated NTM infections in patients without history of immunocompromised diseases or using immunosuppressant. Patients with anti-interferon-γ(IFN-γ) autoantibodies are vulnerable to intracellular infections, such as disseminated NTM. Currently, there is no widely used and efficient technique for the detection of anti-IFN-γautoantibodies. Herein, we report a case of an apparently healthy patient with disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infection who tested positive for anti-IFN-γautoantibodies. Case presentation: A 64-year-old non-immunocompromised and apparently healthy Asian male presented to the emergency department with complaints of progressive chest pain for about 6 months and weight loss. A bulging tumour was found in the anterior chest wall. Chest computed tomography showed a lung mass over the right lower lobe and an osteolytic lesion with a soft tissue component at the sternum. Sonography-guided biopsies for the osteolytic lesion and sputum culture confirmed the presence of disseminated MAC infection. In addition, positive test result of anti-IFN-γautoantibodies was noted. The patient was prescribed antibiotics. The lesions over the right lower lobe and sternum attenuated following the antibiotic treatment. Conclusion: Detection of anti-IFN-γautoantibodies is important among previously healthy people with disseminated NTM infection. Presence of anti-IFN-γautoantibodies may suggest a high risk of severe intracellular infection, such as disseminated NTM infection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number909
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - 29 10 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s).


  • Anti-interferon-γautoantibodies
  • Mycobacterium avium complex
  • Nontuberculous mycobacteria
  • Sonography-guided biopsy


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