Neurologic complications of intrathecal liposomal cytarabine administered prophylactically to patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Gállego Pérez-Larraya J, Palma JA, Carmona-Iragui M, Fernández-Torrón R, Irimia P, Rodríguez-Otero P, Panizo C, Martínez-Vila E.
Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Clínica Universidad de Navarra, Avda. Pío XII, 36, Pamplona, 31008, Spain
Central nervous system (CNS) prophylaxis is required during initial treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) subtypes that carry a high risk of CNS involvement. Intrathecal (IT) liposomal cytarabine, a formulation with prolonged half-life, has been shown to be safe and effective in the treatment of meningeal disease in patients with high-grade lymphoma.
We retrospectively reviewed all adult patients with high-grade NHL that received prophylactic therapy with IT liposomal cytarabine and developed neurologic complications in our institution between April 2007 and May 2009. We recorded information on hospital admission, chemotherapy regimens, clinical features, neuroimaging, cerebrospinal fluid, neurophysiology data, and outcome. Neurotoxicity was graded according to the National Cancer Institute Common Toxicity Criteria (NCI-CTC).
Four of fourteen patients (28%) developed moderate or severe neurotoxicity (grades 2 and 3 of the NCI-CTC), manifested as conus medullaris/cauda equine syndrome or pseudotumour cerebri-like syndrome, after a median of 3.5 IT courses of liposomal cytarabine. All patients had received corticosteroids to prevent arachnoiditis. Liposomal cytarabine given via the IT route, even with concomitant corticosteroid administration, can result in significant neurotoxicity in some patients.
We discuss the potential pathogenesis of these effects and suggest hypothetical therapeutic measures to prevent these complications. Specialists should be aware of these possible complications when administering prophylactic IT liposomal cytarabine in high-grade NHL patients, and additional prospective studies should be conducted to more clearly delineate the frequency and characteristics of these complications.
CITATION J Neurooncol. 2011 Jul;103(3):603-9. Epub 2010 Oct 17