[A 64-year-old woman with severe headache and progressive disturbance of consciousness].No To Shinkei. 1997 Jun; 49(6):571-81.NT
We report a 64-year-old woman who developed nausea, headache, and consciousness disturbance. She was well until four years before the onset of her neurologic illness when (April of 1990 at her 59 years of the age) she was found to have an early cancer in her anterior wall of the lower stomach. Subtotal gastrectomy was performed and the operative result was reported as curative. Four years after the surgery (December of 1994 at her 64 years of the age), she noted suboccipital headache and nausea which had become progressively worse and she was admitted to our service on May 24, 1995. On admission, she appeared chronically ill but general physical examination was unremarkable with normal vital signs. Neurologically she was alert and not demented, and the higher cerebral functions were intact. Cranial nerves were also unremarkable. She was able to walk in tandem and on heels. No motor weakness or ataxia was noted. Deep tendon reflexes were moderately increased, however, no Babinski sign was noted. Although she had headache, no meningeal signs were seen. Slight superficial and vibratory sensory loss was noted in both feet. Routine blood work was again unremarkable except for slight increase in CEA to 8.3 ng/dl (N < 5 ng/dl). The opening pressure of lumbar CSF was 180 mm H2O and the CSF contained 39 cells/microliter, 79 mg of protein, and 10 mg/dl of glucose. Approximately half of the cells were atypical malignant cells. Plain CT was unremarkable, however, tentorial border showed enhancement after contrast infusion. FGS showed no malignant tumors in the stomach. She was treated with intravenous glycerol and whole brain radiation, however, she continued to complain of severe headache, and her sensorium started to be disturbed one month after the admission. Follow-up cranial CT scan revealed enlargement of the lateral and the third ventricles. Her consciousness progressively deteriorated and she became comatose three months after the admission. Repeated cranial CT scan showed enlargement of the ventricles, but no mass lesions were seen within the brain. She developed respiratory arrest on September 25 of the same year. She was discussed in a neurological CPC and the chief discussant arrived at the conclusion that the patient had a gastric cancer with meningeal seeding developing meningeal carcinomatosis. The cause of deep coma was ascribed to damage of cerebral cortical areas secondary to metastatic carcinoma cells and fibrinous materials in the surface of the brain. Postmortem examination revealed thickening and clouding of leptomeninges of the cerebral convexity. On histologic observation, patchy areas of fibrous thickening were seen in the cerebral leptomeninges; in such areas, adenocarcinomatous cells were seen scattered. The basal meninges were free of carcinoma cells, however, leptomeninges of the cerebellum and brain stem tegmentum contained scattered carcinoma cells. The lateral and the third ventricles were enlarged, however, insides of the brain were free of pathologies; the ependymal layer were intact. In the stomach no carcinoma cells were remaining. Pneumonic changes were seen in the right upper and the left lower lobes which appeared to be the direct cause of her death. No evidence of tentorial herniation was noted. The cause of her deep coma was not clearly determined, however, combination of hydrocephalus and cortical malfunction due to leptomeningeal carcinoma cell infiltration and fibrinous material accumulation appeared to have played a role.