Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 329–330

Interferon-related cortical blindness


  • Ofer Merimsky
    • Department of OncologyTel-Aviv Medical Center
  • Puiu Nisipeanu
    • Department of NeurologyTel-Aviv Medical Center
  • Anat Loewenstein
    • Department of OphthalmologyTel-Aviv Medical Center
  • Irith Reider-Groswasser
    • Section of NeuroradiologyTel-Aviv Medical Center
    • Faculty of MedicineTel-Aviv University
  • Samario Chaitchik
    • Department of OncologyTel-Aviv Medical Center
Short Communication Alpha-Interferon, Cortical Blindness

DOI: 10.1007/BF00685955

Cite this article as:
Merimsky, O., Nisipeanu, P., Loewenstein, A. et al. Cancer Chemother. Pharmacol. (1992) 29: 329. doi:10.1007/BF00685955


The term cortical blindness indicates loss of sight due to bilateral lesions in the occipital lobes. It is a rare but severe side effect produced by chemotherapeutic agents. Cortical blindness was diagnosed in a 75-year-old man who had been treated with alpha-interferon for metastatic renal-cell carcinoma. The absence of focal neurological signs and of abnormal findings as determined by two repeated computed tomography (CT) scans of the brain, which excluded structural damge to the occipital lobes, suggest that metabolic or toxic reactions may have caused the cortical blindness diagnosed in our patient. The temporal relationship between the treatment with alpha-interferon and the development of cortical blindness indicates that this substance may have been the causative agent for this phenomenon.

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© Springer-Verlag 1992