A 25-year old Indian exchange-student presented to our department with a three week history of dysphagia. Diagnostic evaluation by upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, endosonography and chest-CT revealed a tumor-suspect ulcerative lesion at the middle esophagus, and a mediastinal lymph node enlargement. Initial histopathological evaluation of multiple esophageal tissue biopsies showed an unspecific esophagitis without signs for malignancy. A positive T-spot®.TB assay result, together with the bronchoscopic detection of a small exophytic lesion at the right main bronchus depicting caseating epitheloid cell granulomas, provided evidence for a tuberculous etiology of the esophageal tumor. Multiple further deep submucosal biopsies were needed to finally detect epitheloid cell granulomas in the esophageal lesion. Microbacteriological or molecular tests were negative for M. tuberculosis. Tuberculostatic treatment resulted in a good response with complete remission of the esophageal lesion and the mediastinal lymph node enlargement. Esophageal tuberculosis is rare in developed countries, and its possible presence deserves consideration particularly in patients at risk.


Dysphagia, ulcerating esophageal lesion, M. tuberculosis, esophageal tuberculosis