Neoplastic meningitis (NM) is a common problem in neurooncology, occurring in approximately 5% of all patients with cancer. Notwithstanding frequent focal signs and symptoms, NM is a disease that affects the entire neuraxis; therefore, staging and treatment need to encompass all cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) compartments. Central nervous system (CNS) staging of NM includes contrast-enhanced cranial computerized tomography or magnetic resonance imaging, contrastenhanced spine magnetic resonance imaging or computerized tomographic myelography, and radionuclide CSF flow study. Treatment of NM involves 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 (ie, methotrexate, cytosine arabinoside, and thio-triethylene thiophosphoramide) administered by a variety of schedules either by intralumbar or intraventricular drug delivery. 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.
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Aparicio, A., Chamberlain, M.C. Neoplastic meningitis. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep 2, 225–235 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11910-002-0081-7