The spectrum of MRI findings of progres­sive multifocal leukoencephalopathy in patients with multiple sclerosis in the Czech Republic

Authors: M. Vaněčková 1;  A. Martinková 2;  R. Tupý 3;  J. Fiedler 4;  I. Štětkářová 5;  E. Medová 5;  M. Vachová 6;  J. Marková 7;  M. Grunermelová 7;  E. Meluzínová 8;  J. Adámková 9;  J. Kubále 10;  M. Talábová 11;  D. Horáková 12;  E. Kubala Havrdová 12
Authors‘ workplace: Oddělení MR, Radiodiagnostická klinika 1. LF UK a VFN v Praze 1;  Radiologické oddělení, Nemocnice České Budějovice, a. s. 10;  MS centrum, Neurologická klinika FN Hradec Králové 11;  RS centrum, Neurologická klinika a Centrum klinických neurověd, 1. LF UK a VFN v Praze 12;  MS centrum, Neurologická klinika Pardubická krajská nemocnice 2;  Klinika zobrazovacích metod LF v Plzni UK a FN Plzeň 3;  Neurologická klinika LF v Plzni UK a FN Plzeň 4;  Neurologická klinika 3. LF UK a FN Královské Vinohrady, Praha 5;  Neurologické oddělení, Krajská zdravotní, a. s. – Nemocnice Teplice, o. z. 6;  Neurologická klinika 3. LF UK a Thomayerova nemocnice 7;  Neurologická klinika 2. LF UK a FN Motol 8;  Neurologické oddělení, Nemocnice České Budějovice, a. s. 9
Published in: Cesk Slov Neurol N 2019; 82(4): 381-390
Category: Original Paper
doi: 10.14735/amcsnn2019381


Aim: To show the full spectrum of MRI findings in all patients ever dia­gnosed with progres­sive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), which is as­sociated with natalizumab ther­apy in patients with MS in the Czech Republic.

Patients and methods: The first case was described in 2009, the last case in December 2018, with a total of 14 dia­gnosed cases of PML in MS patients. This paper evaluates the MRI findings that showed the presence of PML; the dia­gnosis was subsequently confirmed by detection of the John Cun­ningham virus (JCV) DNA from cerebrospinal fluid using polymerase chain reaction. All patients met the American Academy of Neurology criteria from 2013 for dia­gnosis of this dis­ease. The MRI protocol used was variable, both because patients were examined at dif­ferent MRI sites across the Czech Republic, and because of evolution of protocols over time. In all patients, the protocol contained fluid attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR), which is the most sensitive sequence for early PML detection.

Results: 13 patients (92.9%) had a positive MRI find­­ing. The most frequent find­­ing was typical white matter involvement in the subcortical area of the frontal lobe (42.9%), fol­lowed by the parietal (28.6%) and temporal lobes (28.6%). The extent of the pathology was also very variable, from very small discrete lesions to extensive dif­fuse lesions af­fect­­ing multiple lobes. Two patients were found to have cerebel­lar and pons foci (14.3%), one patient in the mesencephalon and another in the medula oblongata. There were thalamic lesions in two cases, and one case of putamen lesions. In some cases, MRI presentation of PML was very similar to the MRI presentation of MS and suspicion of PML was considered because there was new progression of MRI. One patient was completely atypical compared to the rest of the group. PML was dia­gnosed from a routine lumbar puncture done when ther­apy was changed, and the MRI find­­ing at that time was negative. Positive findings appeared only 6 months after the PML dia­gnosis. This case involved the JCV-granulocytic neuronopathy with cerebel­lum af­fection subtype.

Conclusion: The Czech cohort of PML patients confirms the great variability in MRI findings and points out the importance of careful MRI monitor­­ing to detect the dis­ease in the subclinical phase.

The authors declare they have no potential conflicts of interest concerning drugs, products, or services used in the study.

The Editorial Board declares that the manuscript met the ICMJE “uniform requirements” for biomedical papers.


multiple sclerosis – progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy – MRI – asymptomatic imaging


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