Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma of the Central Skull Base: MR Manifestations

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The aim of this study was to demonstrate the MR characteristics of non-Hodgkin lymphoma of the skull base to help in the differential diagnosis of this neoplasm from other conditions.

Materials and Methods

MR of five patients, 7–64 years old, with pathologically proved lymphomas of the skull base were reviewed. Three cases had primary skull base lesions involving the sphenoid bone and the cavernous sinus. One case with a nasal cavity lesion involving the skull base and one with a relapsing skull base lesion of previously treated tonsillar lymphoma were included.


The lesions had signal intensities that were similar to that of gray matter of brain on both T1− and T2-weighted imaging. Bilateral cavernous sinuses were involved with encasement of internal carotid arteries in every case. Postcontrast MR showed homogeneous enhancement of the tumor with dural infiltration along the planum sphenoidale, clivus, or tentorium. The clivus was destroyed or replaced by tumors in adult cases but in two children the clivus was preserved with intact sphenooccipital synchondrosis. In one case the tumor extended to the extracranial portion through the jugular foramen.


The MR findings of a permeative lesion of the skull base, invasion of the cavernous sinus without arterial narrowing, infiltration along the dural surface, and an iso- or hypointensity with brain on T2-weighted imaging should suggest lymphoma.

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