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An unexpected intracerebral lesion - case report of a superinfected aspergillosis mimicking a brain metastasis


Grüter, Basil Erwin; Reuss, Anna Maria; Rushing, Elisabeth Jane; Pangalu, Athina; Oertel, Markus Florian (2021). An unexpected intracerebral lesion - case report of a superinfected aspergillosis mimicking a brain metastasis. BMC Infectious Diseases, 21:537.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Invasive aspergillosis of the central nervous system is a rare but increasingly prevalent disease. We present the unusual case of an immunosuppressed patient suffering from unexpected superinfected invasive aspergillosis with cerebral, pulmonal, and adrenal manifestations, mimicking a metastasized bronchial carcinoma. This report reveals the importance of including aspergillosis in the differential diagnosis of a cerebral mass lesion in the light of unspecific clinical findings.
CASE PRESENTATION: A 58-year-old immunocompromised female presented to our emergency department with a single tonic-clonic seizure. Imaging showed a ring enhancing cerebral mass with perifocal edema and evidence of two smaller additional hemorrhagic cerebral lesions. In the setting of a mass lesion in the lung, and additional nodular lesions in the left adrenal gland the diagnosis of a metastasized bronchus carcinoma was suspected and the cerebral mass resected. However, histology did not reveal any evidence for a neoplastic lesion but septate hyphae consistent with aspergillus instead and microbiological cultures confirmed concomitant staphylococcal infection.
CONCLUSIONS: A high index of suspicion for aspergillus infection should be maintained in the setting of immunosuppression. Clinical and radiological findings are often unspecific and even misleading. Definite confirmation usually relies on tissue diagnosis with histochemical stains. Surgical resection is crucial for establishing the diagnosis and guiding therapy with targeted antifungal medications.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Invasive aspergillosis of the central nervous system is a rare but increasingly prevalent disease. We present the unusual case of an immunosuppressed patient suffering from unexpected superinfected invasive aspergillosis with cerebral, pulmonal, and adrenal manifestations, mimicking a metastasized bronchial carcinoma. This report reveals the importance of including aspergillosis in the differential diagnosis of a cerebral mass lesion in the light of unspecific clinical findings.
CASE PRESENTATION: A 58-year-old immunocompromised female presented to our emergency department with a single tonic-clonic seizure. Imaging showed a ring enhancing cerebral mass with perifocal edema and evidence of two smaller additional hemorrhagic cerebral lesions. In the setting of a mass lesion in the lung, and additional nodular lesions in the left adrenal gland the diagnosis of a metastasized bronchus carcinoma was suspected and the cerebral mass resected. However, histology did not reveal any evidence for a neoplastic lesion but septate hyphae consistent with aspergillus instead and microbiological cultures confirmed concomitant staphylococcal infection.
CONCLUSIONS: A high index of suspicion for aspergillus infection should be maintained in the setting of immunosuppression. Clinical and radiological findings are often unspecific and even misleading. Definite confirmation usually relies on tissue diagnosis with histochemical stains. Surgical resection is crucial for establishing the diagnosis and guiding therapy with targeted antifungal medications.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neuroradiology
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neurosurgery
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Institute of Neuropathology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Infectious Diseases
Language:English
Date:7 June 2021
Deposited On:07 Jul 2021 13:06
Last Modified:25 Jun 2024 01:41
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1471-2334
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-021-06176-7
PubMed ID:34098877
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)