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Late-Onset Cerebral Toxoplasmosis After Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation

Unusual clinical course, Challenging differential diagnosis, Unusual or unexpected effect of treatment, Diagnostic / therapeutic accidents, Educational Purpose (only if useful for a systematic review or synthesis)

Ahmed M. Khalaf, Mahmoud A. Hashim, Mohammed Alsharabati, Kenneth Fallon, Joel K. Cure, Peter Pappas, Shin Mineishi, Ayman Saad

Department of Imaging Physics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA

Am J Case Rep 2017; 18:246-250

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.899687

Available online:

Published: 2017-03-10

BACKGROUND: Toxoplasmosis is an uncommon but potentially fatal complication following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT). Post-transplant toxoplasmosis is often a reactivation of prior infection and typically occurs within the first 6 months of transplant. Herein, we report that cerebral toxoplasmosis may occur 22 months after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
CASE REPORT: We describe a case of cerebral toxoplasmosis that occurred 22 months after an allogeneic HCT while the patient was on aerosolized pentamidine for Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP) prophylaxis. The disease was only diagnosed after brain biopsy because of atypical MRI appearance of the cerebral lesion and negative Toxoplasma gondii IgG antibody test result in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The patient received pyrimethamine and sulfadiazine treatment, with dramatic improvement after several months. The patient is alive 2 years after infection diagnosis, with no evidence of disease and is off Toxoplasma prophylaxis.
CONCLUSIONS: Cerebral toxoplasmosis can occur late after allogeneic HCT while patients are on immunosuppression therapy, with atypical features on imaging studies and negative Toxoplasma gondii IgG antibody test result in the CSF. Pre-transplant serologic screening for T. gondii antibodies in allogeneic transplant candidates is warranted. Brain biopsy can be a helpful diagnostic tool for cerebral lesions.

Keywords: Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation, Toxoplasmosis, Toxoplasmosis, Cerebral, case reports, Brain Biopsy, Late Reactivation, prophylaxis, Toxoplasma gondii