Primary hypothalamic lymphoma with panhypopituitarism presenting as Stiff-man syndrome

May Tze Lee, Ting I. Lee, Justin Ging Shing Won, Wing Keung Chau, Hong Jye Yang, Jer Chuan Li, Hong Da Lin, Kam Tsun Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


We report an unusual case of primary hypothalamic lymphoma with hypopituitarism presenting as Stiff-man syndrome (SMS). A 64-year-old man was hospitalized due to a 3-week history of general weakness, anorexia, vomiting, weight loss, and muscle pain and spasms precipitated by motion and tactile stimuli resulting in muscle stiffness and difficulty in mobility. Physical examination revealed normal sensorimotor function and reflexes, except for bitemporal visual field defect. Routine laboratory and gastrointestinal examinations provided no remarkable clues. Endocrine assessment revealed low levels of morning cortisol, thyroxine, and anterior pituitary hormones but an increase in prolactin level. The patient's muscle pain and stiffness improved dramatically within 2 days after hydrocortisone therapy and thyroxine replacement. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain confirmed an 18-mm enhancing hypothalamic tumor with optic chiasm involvement, which proved to be a B-cell lymphoma. The results of the extensive studies for systemic lymphoma were negative, suggesting a primary hypothalamic lymphoma. The tumor regressed completely and was invisible on MRI scan after adjuvant radiotherapy. The patient's condition was satisfactory and there was no recurrence of SMS during the 2-year follow-up period. This case demonstrated that primary hypothalamic lymphoma complicated with adrenal insufficiency may manifest as SMS. Early diagnosis and prompt intervention can lead to a favorable outcome and reduce morbidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-128
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of the Medical Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004


  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Diabetes insipidus
  • Hypothalamic lymphoma
  • Panhypopituitarism
  • Stiff-man syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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