Isolated bilateral sixth nerve palsy secondary to metastatic carcinoma: a case report with a review of the literature

Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2003 Dec;106(1):51-4. doi: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2003.07.002.


Isolated sixth nerve palsies usually occur in the vasculopathic age group and are often associated with diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and atherosclerosis but also occur in the presence of skull base tumors. However, isolated bilateral sixth nerve palsies are an extremely rare complication of skull base lesions due to metastatic neoplasms. A case of a 46-year-old man with metastatic small-cell carcinoma of the lung that developed acute bilateral abducens nerve palsies is presented. Although this appears to be an isolated case, metastasis to the skull base must be included in the differential diagnosis of isolated bilateral sixth nerve palsies.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Abducens Nerve Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Acute Disease
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / secondary*
  • Cranial Nerve Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Cranial Nerve Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Skull Base Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Skull Base Neoplasms / secondary*