Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis from solid tumours: a systematic review of the literature

BJMO - volume 11, issue 6, october 2017

P. Frères MD, C. Gennigens MD, D. Martin , G. Jerusalem MD, PhD


Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis (LC), or neoplastic meningitis, is a disastrous complication of advanced cancer. This disease occurs in approximately 5% of patients with solid tumour and results from the dissemination of tumour cells from the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) flow throughout the entire central nervous system (CNS). LC is characterized by multiple and fluctuant neurologic symptoms and signs. Useful tests for the diagnosis include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and CSF analysis. Unfortunately, the diagnosis remains challenging due to pleomorphic symptoms and false negative results of diagnostic procedures. For most patients, the aim of the treatment is to control symptoms, by using targeted radiotherapy and corticosteroids. More aggressive therapeutic approaches, such as intrathecal (IT) or systemic chemotherapy, should be restricted to highly selected and good-risk patients. Moreover, only few randomized clinical trials are available in the field and studies using more recent targeted therapies or immunotherapy should always be considered in these patients, as outcome with standard of care is disappointing.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2017;11(6):259–264)

Read more