Multiple intracranial tuberculomas with atypical response to tuberculostatic chemotherapy: Literature review and a case report
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Approximately 34 cases of intracranial tuberculomas with paradoxical response to antituberculous chemotherapy have been documented worldwide. In most of the previously reported cases an associated tuberculous meningitis was reported. The majority of these patients were children or young adults, who had inoperable intracranial tuberculomas located in high risk regions that developed a few weeks or months after the start of an appropriate chemotherapy. Fifty-three percent of the patients recovered completely, 37% improved with mild neurological defects and 10% died. It is interesting that these intracranial tuberculomas developed or enlarged at a stage when systemic tuberculosis was being treated successfully. A recent experience with these potentially curable tumors of the central nervous system is reported. The literature is reviewed, and diagnostic and therapeutic considerations are discussed. The possible immunological mechanisms of this phenomenon are analyzed. In conclusion, patients who are suspected to have a CNS-tuberculosis should receive a prolonged (12–30 months) course of effective antituberculous therapy. The evidence of new intracranial tuberculomas or the expansion of older existing lesions does not indicate the need to change the antituberculous drug program. In such cases systemic dexamethasone as adjuvant therapy for 4 to 8 weeks is worthwhile and effective. Surgical intervention may be necessary in situations with acute complications of CNS tuberculosis, such as shunting procedures for the treatment of hydrocephalus. When the diagnosis is not ensured and there is no response to therapy within 8 weeks, a stereotactic biopsy on a suspected tuberculoma could be performed. If the largest lesion is not located in high risk deep regions of the brain, it could be totally removed surgically. With this combined management, a satisfactory outcome can be obtained in the majority of cases.
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