Initial and follow-up MR imaging findings in AIDS-related progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy treated with highly active antiretroviral therapy

Majda M. Thurnher, M. Judith Donovan Post, Armin Rieger, Christina Kleibl-Popov, Christian Loewe, Erwin Schindler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

95 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Recent studies have shown the beneficial effect of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in AIDS-related progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). The purpose of our study was to evaluate the initial and follow-up imaging findings and survival in patients with PML who were treated with HAART. METHODS: The clinical course and MR imaging findings on initial and follow-up MR studies in four consecutive AIDS patients with PML who were treated with HAART are described. RESULTS: Two patients were short-term survivors and died after 3 months. Two patients are still alive, with a survival time of 22 and 43 months, respectively. On initial MR studies, more extensive white matter changes were seen in the short-term survivors. Development of a mass effect and temporary enhancement (in one patient) was observed in two HAART responders on follow-up MR studies. Increased hypointensity on T1-weighted images with concomitant low signal on fluid-attenuated inversion-recovery fast spin-echo (FLAIR-FSE) images was seen in two responders, representing leukomalacia. Atrophic changes of the involved areas of the brain, consistent with burnt out PML lesions, were seen in two long-term survivors. In the short-term survivors, increased hypointensity was present on T1-weighted images with increased high signal on FLAIR-FSE images, representing progressive destructive disease. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that a clinical and radiologic response can be seen in some patients with AIDS-associated PML on HAART while in others there may be no beneficial response. Development of a mass effect and temporary enhancement on MR images in the early phase of treatment might represent positive predictive factors for prolonged survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)977-984
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Volume22
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology

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