Isolated tumefactive demyelinating lesions: diagnosis and long-term evolution of 16 patients in a multicentric study

J Neurol. 2015 Jul;262(7):1637-45. doi: 10.1007/s00415-015-7758-8. Epub 2015 May 1.


Isolated tumefactive demyelinating lesion (TDL) is a rare disease and a challenging entity especially for the differential diagnosis, biopsy indications, and therapeutic decisions. Long-term evolution is not well known. The objective of the study is to describe clinical and MRI characteristics and long-term follow-up of patients with isolated TDL. We performed a retrospective study including patients (1) with one TDL radiologically defined by a ≥20 mm FLAIR hyperintensity involving the white matter associated with T1 hypointensity that enhanced after gadolinium injection and (2) without any other MS lesion on the first MRI. Tumor, abscess, or other inflammatory diseases (ADEM, Baló's concentric sclerosis, systemic disease) were excluded. Sixteen patients (11 females/5 males) were included. The mean age of onset was 35.7 years (range 20-65). MRI disclosed supratentorial lesions with a mean size of 39.4 mm and usually mild edema/mass effect. Peripheral (mainly open-ring pattern) and central (mainly heterogeneous) enhancement were respectively seen in 9/16 and 11/16 patients. CSF study (n = 15) found oligoclonal bands (OCB) in seven. A cerebral biopsy was performed in 11 cases showing acute inflammatory demyelination. Thirteen patients were treated by pulse steroids with marked improvement in ten. At last clinical follow-up (mean 65.8 months, range 6-181), diagnosis was MS in 5 (31 %), isolated TDL in 10 (63 %) and one patient had a second TDL (6 %). Isolated tumefactive demyelinating lesions are a rare diagnostic entity. After a mean follow-up of 5 years, almost one-third became MS whereas most of the patients had no further event.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / complications
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Demyelinating Diseases / complications
  • Demyelinating Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult