A cavernous sinus lesion clinically responsive to steroids

M. W. Ruff, I. D. Carabenciov, D. R. Johnson, B. E. Pollock, J. E. Parisi, J. P. Klaas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tolosa Hunt syndrome (THS) is characterized by painful ophthalmoplegia secondary to idiopathic granulomatous inflammation of the cavernous sinus. The characteristic finding on MRI is an enhancing T1 isointense and T2 hypo- or hyperintense cavernous sinus mass lesion, which may result in focal narrowing of the ipsilateral internal carotid artery. Although the incidence is quite rare, it is a common diagnostic consideration in cases that present with multiple cranial neuropathies. However, the differential diagnosis for a unilateral cavernous sinus lesion in adults is broad and includes neoplastic, inflammatory (such as sarcoidosis and immunoglobulin G4-related disease [IgG4-RD]), infectious etiologies (such as syphilis and leprosy), as well as vascular lesions. We describe a patient presenting with neurologic symptoms referable to a persistent unilateral cavernous sinus MRI abnormality, initially thought to be consistent with Tolosa-Hunt syndrome, that was clinically but not radiographically responsive to steroids. Following reevaluation due to the presence of new symptoms, pathology revealed that the abnormality was most consistent with chordoma, a rare skull based tumor. In patients with a presumed diagnosis of Tolosa-Hunt syndrome, close clinical and radiographic follow-up is imperative, with early consideration for biopsy in patients that fail to respond to treatment both clinically and radiographically.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-240
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
StatePublished - Jul 2018


  • Chordoma
  • Neuro-oncology
  • Tolosa-Hunt syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'A cavernous sinus lesion clinically responsive to steroids'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this