Journal of Neuro-Oncology

, Volume 109, Issue 1, pp 143–148 | Cite as

Neurotoxicity of intra-CSF liposomal cytarabine (DepoCyt) administered for the treatment of leptomeningeal metastases: a retrospective case series

  • Marc C. ChamberlainEmail author
Clinical Study


Treatment of leptomeningeal metastasis (LMD) remains challenging due to advanced systemic disease at presentation and limited treatment options. All patients underwent standard pre-treatment LMD evaluation including CSF assessment (cytology or flow cytometry), brain and spine MR imaging, and radioisotope CSF flow study. DepoCyt (liposomal cytarabine) was administered intraventricularly (n = 80) or intralumbar (n = 40) at 50 mg every 2 weeks ×4 and then every 4 weeks ×6 in responding patients. Dexamethasone (4 mg orally twice per day ×5 days) was co-administered with each DepoCyt treatment. Patients were seen with each DepoCyt treatment and assessed for toxicity. 120 adult patients [median age 51 years (range 33–68)] with LMD were treated with DepoCyt. DepoCyt Common Toxicity Criteria ≥Grade 3 neurotoxicity was seen in 60 cycles (11.5 %) in 28 patients (23.3 %). Toxicity included bacterial meningitis (3.75 % of ventricular treatments: 0 % of lumbar treatments); chemical meningitis (17.5:15 %); communicating hydrocephalus (3.75:5 %); conus medullaris/cauda equina syndrome (5:5 %); decreased visual acuity (5:2.5 %); encephalopathy (5:5 %); leukoencephalopathy (7.5:2.5 %); myelopathy (2.5:2.5 %); radiculopathy (1.25:5 %); and seizures (1.25:2.5 %). Distribution of toxicity was similar regardless of route of administration (ventricular vs. lumbar). Toxicities were transient in 34 episodes (57 %) and permanent in 26 (43 %). There were no treatment-related deaths however 20 treatment-related toxicities (32.2 %) required hospitalization. In this retrospective case series, DepoCyt is generally well tolerated however a subset of patients (12.5 %) not easily identified pre-treatment, develop serious treatment-related neurological complications that may be persistent and impact quality of life.


Liposomal cytarabine Leptomeningeal metastases Intra-CSF chemotherapy Neurotoxicity Treatment-related toxicity 


Conflict of interest

The author reports no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neurology and NeurosurgeryUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Fred Hutchinson Cancer CenterSeattleUSA

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