Primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL) usually presents with clinical and neuroimaging findings consistent with single or multiple intracranial mass lesions. On cranial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), such lesions are nearly always contrast enhancing, reflecting disruption of the blood-brain barrier at the site of tumor nodules. We describe 2 cases from the UCLA Medical Center who developed a rapidly progressive dementia due to extensive gray and white matter cerebral lesions involving much of the brain. In the patient who came to autopsy, widely infiltrating, focally necrotic B-cell plasmacytoid lymphoma was noted throughout the cerebral neuraxis. MRI findings in case 2 were consistent with diffuse lymphomatous brain infiltration without mass lesions, which was biopsy proven. We conclude that PCNSL may occur in a diffusely infiltrating form which may occur without MRI evidence of mass lesions or blood-brain barrier compromise. We refer to this entity as ‘lymphomatosis cerebri’ and add it to the differential diagnosis of a rapidly progressive dementia.

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