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Meningeal carcinomatosis in undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma: A case report

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July 14, 2014
by Daniel M. Cushman, MD; German Giese, MD; Panta Rouhani, MD, PhD, MPH


Meningeal carcinomatosis is the tumoral invasion of the leptomeninges. It is caused by the spread of malignant cells throughout the subarachnoid space, which produces signs and symptoms due to multifocal involvement. Cranial nerve symptoms are the most common focal findings. The diagnosis is usually made by imaging and/or cytology. Head and neck cancers are the cause of approximately 2% of all cases of meningeal carcinomatosis; in very rare cases, they are caused by a nasopharyngeal carcinoma. We report a case of meningeal carcinomatosis that was caused by a recurrence of undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma. The patient, a 60-year-old woman, experienced no focal neurologic symptoms and exhibited no radiologic evidence of meningeal involvement. We also review the literature on meningeal carcinomatosis secondary to nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

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