Intrathecal chemotherapy

Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2001 Mar;37(3):227-36. doi: 10.1016/s1040-8428(00)00115-3.


An unforeseen consequence of improved disease-free survival in many hematologic and solid tumor malignancies has been an increase in the incidence of disease recurrence in the leptomeninges. The recognition of the central nervous system (CNS) as a unique 'sanctuary' site has resulted in the development of therapeutic strategies specifically directed at the leptomeninges. Although therapeutic strategies have been successful in the prevention and treatment of CNS leukemia, there are still a paucity of therapeutic options for patients with neoplastic meningitis due to solid tumors or recurrent CNS leukemia. This article provides an overview of the pharmacology and toxicity of intrathecal agents that are commonly employed in the treatment and prevention of leptomeningeal disease, and describes new agents that are in the early stages of clinical development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Injections, Spinal
  • Leukemic Infiltration / prevention & control
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Meninges / pathology*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents