Oncologist. 2008 Sep;13(9):967-77
Authors: Chamberlain MC
BACKGROUND: Neoplastic meningitis (NM) is a common problem in neuro-oncology, occurring in approximately 5% of all patients with cancer. METHODS: Notwithstanding frequent focal signs and symptoms, NM is a disease affecting the entire neuraxis, and therefore staging and treatment need encompass all cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) compartments. RESULTS: Central nervous system staging of NM includes contrast-enhanced cranial computerized tomography or magnetic resonance imaging (MR-Gd), contrast-enhanced spine magnetic resonance imaging or computerized tomographic myelography and radionuclide CSF flow study. Treatment of NM incorporates involved-field radiotherapy of bulky or symptomatic disease sites and intra-CSF drug therapy. The inclusion of concomitant systemic therapy may benefit patients with NM and may obviate the need for intra-CSF chemotherapy. At present, intra-CSF drug therapy is confined to three chemotherapeutic agents (i.e., methotrexate, cytosine, arabinoside, and thio-TEPA) administered by a variety of schedules either by intralumbar or intraventricular drug delivery. CONCLUSIONS: Although treatment of NM is palliative with an expected median patient survival of 2 to 6 months, it often affords stabilization and protection from further neurologic deterioration in patients with NM.
PMID: 18776058 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]