Case report of a patient with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy under treatment with dimethyl fumarate

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rogressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy is a severe demyelinating disease caused by the polyoma JC virus in patients with reduced immunocompetence. A few cases of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy have been reported in patients treated with fumaric acid esters. Case presentation: A 53-year-old Caucasian woman reported to our clinic with a first focal epileptic seizure and mild cognitive impairment. Since 1.5 years, she was treated with fumaderm for her psoriasis. During that time, her lymphocyte counts ranged between 450 and 700/μl. Cerebral magnet resonance imaging showed multifocal subcortical T2 hyperintense lesions with partial gadolinium enhancement. She did not have antibodies against human immunodeficiency virus 1 and 2 and cerebrospinal fluid-polymerase chain reaction for viral infections including a sensitive JC-virus polymerase chain reaction were negative. The diagnosis of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy was established by histological analysis and detection of JC-virus desoxyribonucleic acid in brain biopsy specimens. Dimethyl fumarate was stopped and Mirtazapin and Mefloquin were initiated. Neurological examination and imaging remained stable. Conclusions: Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy can occur in patients with lymphocyte counts between 450 and 700/μl, produce only faint symptoms and is not excluded by negative JC-virus-polymerase chain reaction in cerebrospinal fluid. The incidence of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy may thus be underestimated and a more careful surveillance of patients would be necessary.




Dammeier, N., Schubert, V., Hauser, T. K., Bornemann, A., & Bischof, F. (2015). Case report of a patient with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy under treatment with dimethyl fumarate. BMC Neurology, 15(1).

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