Intensified adjunctive corticosteroid therapy for CNS tuberculomas

Infection. 2020 Apr;48(2):289-293. doi: 10.1007/s15010-019-01378-3. Epub 2020 Jan 3.


Introduction: Central nervous system (CNS) tuberculomas are a challenging manifestation of extrapulmonary tuberculosis often leading to neurological complications and post-treatment sequelae. The role of adjunctive corticosteroid treatment is not fully understood. Most guidelines on management of tuberculosis do not distinguish between tuberculous meningitis and CNS tuberculomas in terms of corticosteroid therapy.

Methods: We describe five patients with CNS tuberculomas who required intensified dexamethasone treatment for several months, in two cases up to 18 months.

Results: These patients were initially treated with the standard four-drug tuberculosis regimen and adjuvant dexamethasone. Neurological symptoms improved rapidly. However, multiple attempts to reduce or discontinue corticosteroids according to guideline recommendations led to clinical deterioration with generalized seizures or new CNS lesions. Thus, duration of adjunctive corticosteroid therapy was extended eventually leading to clinical cure and resolution of lesions.

Conclusion: In contrast to tuberculous meningitis, the treatment for CNS tuberculomas appears to require a prolonged administration of corticosteroids. These findings need to be verified in controlled clinical studies.

Keywords: CNS tuberculoma; Corticosteroids; Extrapulmonary tuberculosis; Prolonged treatment duration.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibiotics, Antitubercular / administration & dosage*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Dexamethasone / administration & dosage*
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tuberculoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Tuberculoma / drug therapy*
  • Tuberculoma / pathology
  • Tuberculosis, Central Nervous System / diagnostic imaging
  • Tuberculosis, Central Nervous System / drug therapy*
  • Tuberculosis, Central Nervous System / pathology


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Antibiotics, Antitubercular
  • Dexamethasone