Rectal mass caused by Treponema pallidum: Confirmation by immunofluorescent staining

Thomas C. Quinn, Sheila A. Lukehart, Steven Goodell, Emmanuel Mkrtichian, Michael D. Schuffler, King K. Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


A 37-yr-old homosexual man presented with mild anorectal symptoms, a diffuse maculopapular rash, constitutional symptoms, and a reactive serologic test for syphilis. Sigmoidoscopy revealed a 2 × 2-cm indurated rectal mass 5 cm above the anal verge. Darkfield examination of rectal exudate revealed motile treponemes and rectal biopsy of the mass showed diffuse infiltration of plasma cells and lymphocytes. Large numbers of spirochetes were present on silver stain of the rectal biopsy specimen and these were shown to be Treponema pallidum by indirect immunofluorescence. The rectal mass and symptoms resolved following penicillin therapy. This case and a review of previously reported cases of anorectal syphilis emphasize the significance of these often neglected and misdiagnosed lesions of syphilis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-139
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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