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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2011 Jun-Jul;32(6):984-92. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A2171. Epub 2010 Jul 8.

Central nervous system lymphoma: characteristic findings on traditional and advanced imaging.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway.


CNS lymphoma consists of 2 major subtypes: secondary CNS involvement by systemic lymphoma and PCNSL. Contrast-enhanced MR imaging is the method of choice for detecting CNS lymphoma. In leptomeningeal CNS lymphoma, representing two-thirds of secondary CNS lymphomas, imaging typically shows leptomeningeal, subependymal, dural, or cranial nerve enhancement. Single or multiple periventricular and/or superficial contrast-enhancing lesions are characteristic of parenchymal CNS lymphoma, representing one-third of secondary CNS lymphomas and almost 100% of PCNSLs. New CT and MR imaging techniques and metabolic imaging have demonstrated characteristic findings in CNS lymphoma, aiding in its differentiation from other CNS lesions. Advanced imaging techniques may, in the future, substantially improve the diagnostic accuracy of imaging, ultimately facilitating a noninvasive method of diagnosis. Furthermore, these imaging techniques may play a pivotal role in planning targeted therapies, prognostication, and monitoring treatment response.

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