Leptomeningeal and intraventricular myelomatosis manifesting an aggressive form of communicating hydrocephalus

Neuropathology. 2021 Jun;41(3):243-249. doi: 10.1111/neup.12728. Epub 2021 May 10.


Leptomeningeal myelomatosis (LMM) is a fatal complication that occurs in < 1% of patients with multiple myeloma. Many patients with LMM present with neurologic symptoms referable to cranial neuropathies, while the manifestation of communicating hydrocephalus has been underrecognized. A Japanese man with Bence Jones protein-κ multiple myeloma developed fever and headache at age 54 years. He then became somnolent and went into a coma. Neuroimaging analyses identified rapidly progressive communicating hydrocephalus due to meningitis. He died 83 days after the onset of headache without any response to treatment at age 55 years. No symptoms or signs associated with cranial nerves were found during the course of illness. Postmortem examination revealed hydrocephalus and diffuse infiltration of myeloma cells into the subarachnoid space of the cerebrum, cerebellum, and brainstem. In addition, the interstitial tissue of the choroid plexuses was filled with myeloma cells. These myeloma cells were positive for CD156 and light chain κ. The Ki-67 labeling index in myeloma cells of the central nervous system (CNS) was 30-40%. Histopathological examination further revealed many myeloma cells on the surface of the lateral, third and fourth ventricles and at the area postrema of the medulla oblongata. Patients with LMM can develop an aggressive form of communicating hydrocephalus. Given that cerebrospinal fluid, produced by epithelial cells in the choroid plexuses of the ventricles, passes into the subarachnoid space through the third and fourth ventricles, myeloma cells may invade the CNS through the choroid plexuses.

Keywords: CNS invasion; CNS relapse; communicating hydrocephalus; leptomeningeal myelomatosis; multiple myeloma.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Autopsy
  • Bence Jones Protein / urine
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus* / diagnosis
  • Hydrocephalus* / etiology
  • Hydrocephalus* / pathology
  • Male
  • Meningeal Neoplasms
  • Meninges / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Myeloma / complications*
  • Multiple Myeloma / pathology*
  • Neuroimaging


  • Bence Jones Protein