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Open Access Open Badges Case report

Neurolymphomatosis mimicking neurosarcoidosis: a case report

Ernestina Santos1 and Neil J Scolding2*

Author Affiliations

1 Neurology Department, Hospital Geral Santo, António Porto, Portugal

2 University of Bristol Institute of Clinical Neurosciences, Neurology Department, Frenchay Hospital, Bristol BS16 1LE, UK

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Journal of Medical Case Reports 2010, 4:5  doi:10.1186/1752-1947-4-5

Published: 12 January 2010



Both neurosarcoidosis and central nervous system lymphoma can be very difficult to diagnose. We describe the case of a patient in whom neurosarcoidosis was strongly suspected, but who was eventually found to have lymphoma. We believe the case to be of interest and practical value to neurologists, oncologists and internists with an interest in inflammatory diseases.

Case presentation

A diagnosis of neurosarcoidosis was considered in a 49-year-old Caucasian man on the basis of the following symptoms and indications: a cough, bilateral hilar lymphadenopathy confirmed by thoracic computed tomography, the development of an S1 radiculopathy, cerebrospinal fluid abnormalities (raised protein level), bilateral lung hilar and lachrymal gland uptake on a gallium scan, and erythema nodosum confirmed with skin biopsy. These were followed by the development of multiple cranial neuropathies, including seventh nerve palsy. Exhaustive further investigations yielded no evidence for an alternative diagnosis. Treatments with steroids, cyclophosphamide, intravenous immunoglobulin and finally infliximab were of no benefit. He eventually developed cutaneous nodules, a biopsy of which revealed lymphoma that proved resistant to therapy.


Constant diagnostic vigilance is required in disorders such as neurosarcoidosis.