Primary central nervous system vasculitis associated with lymphoma

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To record the clinical findings, response to therapy, and course of patients with primary CNS vasculitis (PCNSV) associated with lymphoma.

Patients and Methods

We reviewed the histories of 936 patients with a diagnosis of any type of vasculitis and lymphoma who were seen at the Mayo Clinic over a 32-year period. Ten patients with both PCNSV and lymphoma were identified. We compared the findings in these 10 patients with those from 158 patients with PCNSV without lymphoma seen over 29 years.


Ten of a total of 168 (5.9%) patients with PCNSV also had a history of lymphoma: 6 with Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and 4 with non-HL (NHL). A granulomatous vasculitis was found in all 8 patients with cerebral biopsies, accompanied by vascular deposits of β-amyloid peptide in 2. In 7 patients, medical diagnostic workup for PCNSV revealed the lymphoma. Compared to the 158 patients with PCNSV without lymphoma, patients with lymphoma were more frequently male (p = 0.04), had increased gadolinium leptomeningeal enhancement (p = 0.03) at presentation, and had more neurologic disability at last follow-up (p = 0.01). No significant differences in treatment response were observed in the 2 groups (p = 0.202). Considering all 168 patients, increased disability at last follow-up was associated with increasing age at diagnosis (odds ratio [OR] 1.4), lymphoma (OR 5.9), and cerebral infarction (OR 3.2), while reduced disability was associated with gadolinium–enhanced lesions (OR 0.43) and amyloid angiopathy (OR O.23).


Lymphoma may be diagnosed simultaneously with PCNSV, suggesting an immunologic paraneoplastic mechanism.

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