Primary central nervous system lymphoma imitates multiple sclerosis

J Neurooncol. 1990 Oct;9(2):177-81. doi: 10.1007/BF02427840.


Primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL) can be confused with multiple sclerosis (MS) in patients who present with neurological dysfunction, a non-enhancing periventricular lesion, and CSF pleocytosis. Administration of corticosteroid causes clinical improvement and regression of PCNSL in some patients which may be interpreted as a steroid-induced remission from an exacerbation of MS. Sustained clinical dependence upon corticosteroid is unusual in MS, and should lead to consideration of PCNSL. Repeat CSF examination and gadolinium-enhanced MRI scan obtained off corticosteroid should differentiate between the two diagnostic possibilities.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma / diagnosis*
  • Lymphoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnosis*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed