Small B cell lymphocytic lymphoma presenting as obstructive sleep apnea

Yung An Tsou, Yuan Kai Cheng*, Chia Der Lin, Weng Cheng Chang, Ming Hsui Tsai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Most lymphomas that involve the tonsil are large B cell lymphomas. Large B-cell lymphoma is a high grade malignancy which progresses rapidly. Tonsillar lymphoma usually presents as either a unilaterally enlarged palatine tonsil or as an ulcerative and fungating lesion over the tonsillar area. Small lymphocytic lymphomas (SLL) of the Waldeyer's ring are uncommon. Case presentation: We report a 41-year-old male who presented with a ten-year history of snoring. Physical examination revealed smooth bilateral symmetrically enlarged tonsils without abnormal surface change or cervical lymphadenopathy. Palatal redundancy and a narrowed oropharyngeal airway were also noted. The respiratory disturbance index (RDI) was 66 per hour, and severe obstruction sleep apnea (OSA) was suspected. No B symptoms, sore throat, odynophagia or dysphagia was found. We performed uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) and pathological examination revealed incidental small B-cell lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL). Conclusion: It is uncommon for lymphoma to initially present as OSA. SLL is an indolent malignancy and is not easy to detect in the early stage. We conclude that SLL may be a contributing factor of OSA in the present case.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWorld Journal of Surgical Oncology
StatePublished - 29 07 2004
Externally publishedYes


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