Cryptococcoma mimicking a brain tumor in an immunocompetent patient: case report of an extremely rare presentation

ABSTRACT CONTEXT: Central nervous system (CNS) infectious diseases have high prevalence in developing countries and their proper diagnosis and treatment are very important for public health planning. Cryptococcus neoformans is a fungus that may cause several CNS manifestations, especially in immunocompromised patients. Cryptococcal meningitis is the most common type of involvement. Mass-effect lesions are uncommon: they are described as cryptococcomas and their prevalence is even lower among immunocompetent patients. The aim here was to report an extremely rare case of cryptococcoma causing a mass effect and mimicking a brain tumor in an immunocompetent patient. The literature on CNS cryptococcal infections was reviewed with emphasis on cryptococcomas. Clinical, surgical and radiological data on a female patient with this rare presentation of cryptococcoma mimicking a brain tumor are described. CASE REPORT: A 54-year-old female patient presented to the emergency department with a rapid-onset progressive history of confusion and completely dependency for basic activities. Neuroimaging showed a left occipital lesion and neurosurgical treatment was proposed. From histopathological evaluation, a diagnosis of cryptococcoma was established. She received clinical support with antifungals, but despite optimal clinical treatment, her condition evolved to death. CONCLUSIONS: Cryptococcal infections have several forms of presentation and, in immunocompetent patients, their manifestation may be even more different. Cryptococcoma is an extremely rare presentation in which proper surgical and clinical treatment should be instituted as quickly as possible, but even so, there is a high mortality rate.