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Blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm and cerebral toxoplasmosis: a case report

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BACKGROUND: The present case contributes to the limited literature on central nervous system involvement of blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm (BPDCN). CASE PRESENTATION : A 63-year-old male presented to the department of neurology with a three-day history of rapidly progressing headache, fatigue, and confusion. Physical examination revealed multiple bruise-like skin lesions. Initial laboratory workup raised suspicion of acute leukemia, and a brain computer tomography identified several hyperdense processes. A bone marrow biopsy gave the diagnosis BPDCN, a rare and aggressive hematologic malignancy derived from plasmacytoid dendritic cells with a poor prognosis. Lumbar puncture showed not only signs of BPDCN, but also cerebral toxoplasmosis, thus providing a differential diagnosis. Despite intensive systemic and intrathecal chemotherapy, the patient died 25 days later due to multi-organ failure.

DISCUSSION: The exact incidence of BPDCN is unknown and perhaps underestimated but may account for 0.5 - 1% of all hematological malignancies. The median age at onset is 60 to 70 years, and most patients are men. Cutaneous lesions are the most frequent clinical manifestation at diagnosis. Other symptoms present at time of diagnosis or during disease progression include lymphadenopathy, splenomegaly and cytopenia caused by bone marrow involvement. Although the majority of BPDCN patients have no symptoms or signs of central nervous system involvement, plasmacytoid dendritic cells have been detected in the cerebrospinal fluid in more than 50%.

CONCLUSIONS: This case highlights the importance of considering hematological malignancies as a differential diagnosis in patients developing acute neurological symptoms and raises suspicion of a possible association between toxoplasmosis and hematological malignancies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number233
JournalBMC Neurology
Volume22
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)233
ISSN1471-2377
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022. The Author(s).

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