Background: A 57-year-old woman presented with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). She was enrolled in a clinical study, in which she received two cycles of neoadjuvant sunitinib therapy followed by cytoreductive nephrectomy. Her primary tumor and rib metastasis showed a good response to neoadjuvant therapy; however, after surgery, the patient developed neurologic symptoms, including flaccid paraparesis with paresthesia and hypoesthesia. MRI of the brain and spine revealed a leptomeningeal lesion at the T12-L1 space, which was presumed to have progressed during the 3-week treatment-free perioperative period. The patient underwent radiation therapy for the intramedullary lesion 1 month later, and sunitinib therapy was subsequently reinstated. After 6 months, her extracranial lesions remained stable and the intramedullary lesion was undetectable on MRI.
Investigations: CT of the chest and abdomen, bone scan, kidney and liver function tests, measurement of serum levels of calcium, electrolytes and lactate dehydrogenase, CBC, MRI of the brain and spine.
Diagnosis: Progression of a central nervous system metastasis linked to the interruption of neoadjuvant sunitinib therapy.
Management: Neoadjuvant sunitinib therapy followed by cytoreductive nephrectomy for the primary RCC; radiation therapy for the intramedullary lesion, followed by reinstatement of sunitinib therapy owing to a good clinical response observed in the extracranial lesions.