Absence of thallium-201 brain uptake in progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy in AIDS patients

A. Iranzo, J. Marti-Fabregas, P. Domingo, A. Catafau, J. Molet, A. Moreno, J. Pujol, X. Matias-Guiu, J. Cadafalch

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Objective - To evaluate the presence of thallium-201 brain uptake determined by thallium-201 brain SPECT (T1-201 SPECT) in patients with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) and AIDS. Material and methods - Six AIDS patients with stereotactic biopsy diagnosis of PML were prospectively evaluated with T1-201 SPECT, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS). T1-201 SPECT results were compared with 2 patients with AIDS and biopsy proven primary CNS lymphoma. Results -In all patients with PML, T1-201 SPECT studies showed lack of uptake while MRI demonstrated subcortical white matter focal brain lesions and 1H-MRS disclosed metabolic abnormalities. Intense thallium uptake (uptake ratios of 3.2 and 5.6) was demonstrated in the 2 patients with primary CNS lymphoma. Conclusions - The present study shows that PML lesions are not detectable on T1-201 SPECT while MRI and 1H-MRS demonstrate abnormalities, and intense thallium-201 uptake may be detected in primary CNS lymphoma. These results suggest that T1-201 SPECT is a method which, combined with other non-invasive techniques such as MRI and 1H-MRS, may help in the diagnostic approach of PML and to differentiate PML from other high proliferative brain lesions characterized by positive thallium uptake.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-105
JournalActa Neurologica Scandinavica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 1999


  • AIDS
  • Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy
  • Thallium-201 brain SPECT


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