Published: 2017-01-14

Microfilaria in malignant pleural effusion: an unusual incidental finding or causative association?

Anandkumar P. Chordiya, Sonali S. Datar, Amit K. Agrawal, Rasika U. Gadkari, Anuradha V. Shrikhande


Lymphatic filariasis is common in tropical countries and is endemic in India. Filaria has a wide spectrum of presentation. Filarial lung involvement is usually in the form of tropical pulmonary eosinophilia with pulmonary infiltrates and peripheral eosinophilia. Filariasis presenting with pleural effusion is an unusual presentation. Malignancy in association with filarial pleural effusion is extremely rare and its role in tumorigenesis is controversial. In this context, we hereby report a case of 60 year old male, chronic smoker, who presented with left sided chest pain, cough, breathlessness, generalized weakness and swelling over left infrascapular region. Pleural fluid cytology repeated thrice due to degenerative changes, finally revealed malignant cells along with microfilaria. FNAC from left infrascapular swelling showed cytological features suggestive of metastatic deposits of Adenocarcinoma.


Microfilaria, Malignancy, Pleural effusion, Tumorigenesis

Full Text:



Arora VK, Gowrinath K. Pleural effusion due to lymphatic filariasis. Indian J Chest Dis Allied Sci. 1994;36:159-61.

Prashant L Patil, Harsha R Salkar, Shekhar S Godeshwar, Jayant P Gawand. Parasites (Filaria and Strongyloides) in malignant pleural effusion. Indian J Med Sci. 2005;59(10):455-6.

K Prasanthi, K Nagamani, N K Saxena. Unresolving pericarditis: Suspect filariasis in the tropics. Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology. 2010;28:73-5

Sachin S Kolte, Rahul N Satarkar, Pratibha M Mane. Microfilaria concomitant with metastatic deposits of adenocarcinoma in lymph node fine needle aspiration cytology: A chance finding. J Cytol. 2010;27(2):78–80.

Walter A, Krishnaswami H, Cariappa A. Microfilaria of Wuchereria bancrofti in cytologic smears. Acta Cytol. 1983;27:432-6.

Khan AA, Vasenwala SM, Ahmad S. Coexistent metastatic adenocarcinoma and microfilaria in ascitic fluid. Acta Cytol. 1993;37:643-4.

Gupta K, Sehgal A, Puri MM, Sidhwa HK. Microfilariae in association with other diseases. A report of six cases. Acta Cytol. 2002;46:776‑8.

Premi HS, Samaga BN, Subramanyam K, Shetty JK, Teerthanath S, Baikunje V et al. Microfilaria in pericardial effusion coexisting with spindle cell thymoma-a rare case report. Nitte University J Health Sci. 2011;1:40-2.

Chakrabarti N, Konar K, Mala, Bandyopadhyay A, Bose K. Incidental Detection of Microfilaria in Cytology: Report of Three Cases. Ann Clin Pathol. 2014;2(4):1033.

Gupta S, Sodhani P, Jain S, Kumar N. Microfilariae in association with neoplastic lesions: Report of five cases. Cytopathology. 2001;12:120‑6.

Agarwal PK, Srivastava AN, Agarwal N. Microfilariae in association with neoplasms. Acta Cytol. 1982;26:488‑90.

Singh SK, Pujani M, Pujani M. Microfilaria in malignant pleural effusion: An unusual association. Indian J Med Microbiol. 2010;28:392‑4.

Navaz AK, Raikar MP, Acharya V, Shetty SK. Pleural effusion: An unusual cause and association. Lung India. 2013;30:158-60.