Background: Detection of serum neuron specific enolase (NSE) has high sensitivity and specificity in the diagnosis of lung cancer, especially small cell lung cancer, but sometimes serum NSE provides limited help. We report a case of high-density shadow of the left lung and elevated serum NSE which mimicked lung cancer. It was ultimately confirmed to be pulmonary aspergillosis (PA) by bronchoscopic alveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and next-generation sequencing (NGS).
Methods: Appropriate laboratory tests, chest computed tomography (CT) scan, bronchoscopic alveolar lavage fluid, and next-generation sequencing were used to explore latent causes.
Results: NSE level was elevated, chest CT scan showed high-density shadow of the left lung, bronchoscopy showed flesh-colored new organisms in the lower lobe of the left lung, BALF and NGS revealed the presence of Aspergillus.
Conclusions: Elevated NSE is not a typical manifestation of lung cancer, and we should perform BALF and NGS early to determine whether there is infection with special pathogenic bacteria.