Tumor-Like Presentation of Primary Angiitis of the Central Nervous System

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Background and Purpose—

We aimed to describe the clinical and imaging features of patients with tumor-like presentation of primary angiitis of the central nervous system.


We retrospectively analyzed 10 patients enrolled in the French primary angiitis of the central nervous system cohort, who initially presented tumor-like brain lesions and compared them with other patients within the cohort.


The 10 patients with tumor-like presentation in the cohort were younger and had more seizures at diagnosis than the other 75 patients (median of 37 [30–48] years versus 46 [18–79] years; P=0.008; 9 [90%] with seizures versus 22 [29%], P<0.001; respectively). All 10 patients had a biopsy (stereotactic procedure in 7 and open-wedge surgery in 3). Histological findings suggestive of vasculitis were observed in 9 patients in whom conventional cerebral angiography and magnetic resonance angiography were negative. In the remaining patient, vascular imaging demonstrated diffuse bilateral large- and medium-sized vessel involvement (biopsy did not reveal vasculitis). All patients with tumor-like presentation received glucocorticoids, combined with cyclophosphamide in 9 cases. With a median follow-up of 27 (12–130) months, 5 (50%) patients relapsed, but achieved remission again after treatment intensification.


Patients with tumor-like presentation of primary angiitis of the central nervous system represent a subgroup characterized with mainly small-sized vessel disease that requires histological confirmation because vascular imaging is often normal. Although relapses are not uncommon, global outcomes are good under treatment with glucocorticoids and cyclophosphamide.

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