Brain invasion by chronic lymphocytic leukemia
Brain invasion by chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is very rare, and only a handful of cases have been reported. We here report a case of 61-year-old woman who had been treated for CLL for 14 years presenting with a progressive mental disturbance. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed discontinuous ring-enhancing lesions compatible with the "open ring" sign, which was considered a demyelinating disorder, in both the frontal lobes. However, on histological examination of the biopsied specimen, infiltration of small lymphocytes positive for CD5, CD20, and CD23, indicating brain invasion by CLL, was seen. The leukemia cells occupied the Virchow-Robin space and infiltrated into the brain parenchyma. The arterioles in the Virchow-Robin space were compressed and occluded with the tumor cells, while CD163-positive cells infiltrated the brain parenchyma. Myelin staining demonstrated myelinoclasis in the infiltrated brain tissue. The MRI findings in the present case probably reflected myelinoclasis, suggesting rare brain invasion by CLL. The possibility of lymphoma should not be eliminated based on the MRI findings.