Toxoplasmosis versus lymphoma: Cerebral lesion characterization using DSC-MRI revisited

Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2017 Jan:152:84-89. doi: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2016.11.023. Epub 2016 Dec 2.


Objective: CNS toxoplasmosis and lymphoma are often indistinguishable by conventional contrast-enhanced MRI. There is limited literature on the diagnostic efficacy of dynamic susceptibility contrast (DSC) MRI for differentiating these entities. This study assesses the clinical utility of relative cerebral blood volume (rCBV) for making a diagnosis and determines rCBV thresholds for differentiation using contemporary DSC-MRI.

Patients and methods: Thirteen patients with 25 lesions (13 toxoplasmosis and 12 lymphoma) and pre-treatment DSC-MRI were identified retrospectively. Volumetric regions of interest of segmented enhancement were used to extract mean rCBV normalized to normal-appearing white matter for each lesion. We compared average mean rCBV between all toxoplasmosis and lymphoma lesions using a general mixed model. Three models were also compared for evaluating rCBV-based disease status in each patient: 1) mean rCBV of each lesion using a generalized estimating equation, 2) volume-weighted mean rCBV, and 3) maximum mean rCBV of all lesions using logistic regression.

Results: The average mean rCBV for all toxoplasmosis lesions was 0.98 (95% CI 0.55-1.41) compared to 2.07 (95% CI 1.71-2.43) for all lymphoma lesions, a significant difference (1.09, 95% CI 0.53-1.65, p=0.0013). For the three models used to evaluate rCBV-based disease status in each patient, a significant relationship was observed, with an optimal rCBV threshold of approximately 1.5 for distinguishing lymphoma from toxoplasmosis in each model.

Conclusion: RCBV derived from contemporary DSC-MRI is helpful for distinguishing between cerebral toxoplasmosis and cerebral lymphoma on an individual patient basis and may facilitate more timely initiation of appropriate directed therapy.

Keywords: DSC-MRI; Lymphoma; Toxoplasmosis; rCBV.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Toxoplasmosis, Cerebral / diagnostic imaging*