BMJ Case Reports 2017; doi:10.1136/bcr-2016-218824

Cerebral cryptococcoma mimicking glioblastoma

  1. Marion L Woods1,2
  1. 1Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Herston, Queensland, Australia
  2. 2University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Marion L Woods, marion.woods{at}
  • Accepted 26 January 2017
  • Published 10 February 2017


Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii cause invasive fungal disease, with meningitis being the most common manifestation of central nervous system (CNS) disease. Encapsulated cryptococcomas occur rarely, predominantly in immunocompetent hosts, usually related to C. gattii. Our patient was an immunocompetent man who presented with headache and a large cystic CNS lesion thought to be glioblastoma. Biopsy of a concomitant lung lesion confirmed cryptococcoma and empiric antifungal therapy was started for presumed CNS cryptococcoma. Antifungal therapy failed to shrink the CNS lesion, and surgical excision confirmed C. gattii CNS cryptococcoma. Following surgery he had complete resolution of symptoms. This case highlights that cryptococcoma cannot be distinguished from tumour on clinical or imaging findings. A combined medical and surgical approach is optimal for the management of large or surgically accessible cryptococcomas, as antifungal therapy alone is unlikely to penetrate large lesions sufficiently to lead to a cure.


  • Contributors KBU wrote the first draft and completed an extensive literature review as well as participating in the acute and ongoing medical care of the patient. JWJC assisted in the literature review and care of the patient when in neurosurgery. RJ was the consultant neurosurgeon who performed the surgery and filmed the attached procedure. MLW edited the final draft and was involved in the ongoing medical management and follow-up of the patient.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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