Stereotactic brain biopsy in human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients

Roberto Luzzati, Sergio Ferrari, Antonio Nicolato, Enrico Piovan, Marina Malena, Mara Merighi, Michela Morbin, Massimo Gerosa, Nicolo' Rizzuto, Ercole Concia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To evaluate prospectively the diagnostic efficacy and safety of stereotactic brain biopsy and its impact on treatment, outcome, and survival in human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients with focal brain lesions. Methods: Computed tomography-guided stereotactic brain biopsy was performed in 26 patients, of whom 17 failed to respond to a 2- to 3-week anti- Toxoplasma regimen. Exclusion criteria for biopsy were overt acquired immunodeficiency syndrome for 2 years or longer, Karnofsky score less than 50, and severe coagulopathies. Results: A definitive diagnosis was obtained in 24 patients (92%), of whom 12 (46%) had primary brain lymphoma, six (23%) had progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, and four (15%) had Toxoplasma encephalitis. Two thirds of contrast-enhancing lesions on computed tomography were lymphoma and three fourths of contrast-negative lesions were leukoencephalopathy. Three patients had biopsy-related cerebral hemorrhages (morbidity, 11.5%). Median follow-up and survival for the entire group were 24 weeks (range, 6 to 135 weeks). Twenty patients (77%) received specific therapy and 13 (50%) responded to treatment. Of 11 patients with lymphoma undergoing irradiation treatment (whole-brain radiotherapy in seven and γ- knife treatment in four), nine (82%) had clinical and radiologic response, with a median survival of 34 weeks (range, 13 to 57 weeks). Conclusions: Stereotactic brain biopsy has high diagnostic efficacy and clinical benefit in carefully selected human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients. The procedure should be performed essentially in patients with contrast-enhancing lesions on computed tomography who have a high frequency of treatable cerebral diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-568
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Internal Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 11 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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