Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome following chemotherapy with oxaliplatin and a fluoropyrimidine: a case report and literature review

Asia Pac J Clin Oncol. 2012 Jun;8(2):115-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-7563.2012.01544.x.


Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) is a neuro-radiological syndrome characterized by seizures, altered level of consciousness and visual disturbance. PRES is associated with hyperintense lesions on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) most commonly seen in the posterior regions. In most cases symptoms and radiological lesions are reversible. The aims of this article are: (i) to review the literature for all cases involving oxaliplatin, fluoropyrimidine and bevacizumab and (ii) highlight the increasing number of cases attributed to anti-neoplastic agents. An in-depth literature review was conducted by utilizing Pubmed's MEDLINE and Google Scholar databases. We found that there have been nine cases of PRES associated with oxaliplatin or fluoropyrimidine therapy; five cases also involved therapy with bevacizumab. Eight of the nine patients made a full recovery with a complete resolution of MRI changes. This is the first Australian case of PRES following treatment with oxaliplatin and a fluoropyrimidine and only the second case reported in which the patient did not recover despite appropriate medical management. It appears that PRES maybe more commonly associated with multi-agent therapies and although reversible in most cases, PRES may result in adverse outcomes despite rapid intervention.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects*
  • Fluorouracil / administration & dosage
  • Fluorouracil / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organoplatinum Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Organoplatinum Compounds / adverse effects
  • Oxaliplatin
  • Posterior Leukoencephalopathy Syndrome / chemically induced*
  • Posterior Leukoencephalopathy Syndrome / physiopathology


  • Organoplatinum Compounds
  • Oxaliplatin
  • Fluorouracil