MRI manifestations of central nervous system leukaemia and cytological analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid

Clin Radiol. 2023 Sep;78(9):e613-e619. doi: 10.1016/j.crad.2023.04.016. Epub 2023 Jun 1.


Aim: To investigate the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features and explore the value of MRI in the diagnosis of central nervous system leukaemia (CNSL).

Materials and methods: A retrospective study was performed in 68 patients with leukaemia who underwent cranial MRI between January 2020 and June 2022 at Institute of Hematology and Blood Diseases Hospital.

Results: A total of 33 patients fulfilled the requirements for inclusion. The findings showed that 87.9% patients exhibited neurological symptoms, and 23 patients showed abnormal MRI findings. No differences were observed between the MRI+ and MRI- groups in terms of age, sex, neurological symptoms, glucose in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), chloride in the CSF, abnormal cells detected using conventional cytology (CC), bone marrow status at the diagnosis of CNSL, signal intensity ratio, and mortality, except for protein concentration and the number of leukaemic cells detected using flow cytometry (FCM) in the CSF. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis in patients with leukaemia revealed no statistical differences in the median survival times between the MRI+ group and MRI- group. Cox regression analysis and multivariate analysis showed no significant difference in survival rate between the MRI+ and MRI- groups. Kappa consistency test shows weak diagnostic consistency between MRI and CC, and weak diagnostic inconsistency between MRI and FCM.

Conclusion: MRI could serve as an important complementary tool to CC and FCM in the diagnosis of CNSL, especially in patients without leptomeningeal involvement.

MeSH terms

  • Central Nervous System
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Leukemia* / diagnostic imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Retrospective Studies