Effect of brain irradiation on demyelinating lesions
Demyelinating lesions, such as those in multiple sclerosis, may resemble primary or metastatic brain tumors on CT or MRI, and even be mistaken for neoplasms on biopsy. We encountered five such patients in whom an incorrect diagnosis of CNS neoplasm was made on the basis of radiologic appearance (five) and biopsy (four). All five received radiation therapy, and three chemotherapy. Review of the pathologic findings indicated that the original lesions were not neoplastic but demyelinative. The four patients who received radiation in full tumoricidal doses had unexpectedly poor clinical outcome, suggesting that radiation is especially injurious to patients with demyelinating disease.