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  • Updated 10.24.2020
  • Released 04.26.1994
  • Expires For CME 10.24.2023

Leptomeningeal metastasis


Key points

• Leptomeningeal metastasis represents seeding of tumor cells to the cerebrospinal fluid and leptomeninges.

• Clinical hallmarks include involvement of multiple levels of the neuroaxis, such as increased intracranial pressure and cranial and spinal nerve coating leading to dysfunction.

• Treatment options include radiotherapy, systemic therapy, and intra-CSF chemotherapy.

Historical note and terminology

The first pathological description was by Olliver in 1837, followed by Eberth (14). The first description of carcinoma cells in CSF may be that by Dufour (13). Beerman coined the term "meningeal carcinomatosis" (06). The term “leptomeningeal disease” or “leptomeningeal metastases” is favored because it includes malignancies other than carcinoma and excludes dural metastasis.

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