Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis in esophageal cancer: a case series and systematic review of the literature

Dis Esophagus. 2015 Nov-Dec;28(8):772-81. doi: 10.1111/dote.12276. Epub 2014 Aug 21.


The aim of this study was to more clearly define the clinical course of leptomeningeal carcinomatosis due to esophageal cancer. A single institution retrospective case series was conducted. Additionally, a systematic review of the literature was performed. We present a large case series (n = 7) of leptomeningeal carcinomatosis due to esophageal cancer. Our case series and systematic review of the literature report similar findings. In our series, we report a predominance of male patients (86%) with adenocarcinoma histology (77%). Variable onset of leptomeningeal involvement of esophageal cancer in relation to the original diagnosis of the primary disease (5 months to 3 years and 11 weeks) was noted. Disease progresses quickly and overall survival is poor, measured in weeks (2.5-16 weeks) from the diagnosis of leptomeningeal involvement. Four of our patients initiated whole-brain radiation therapy with only two completing the course prior to clinical deterioration. Our patient with the longest survival (16 weeks) received intrathecal topotecan and oral temozolomide. Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis secondary to esophageal cancer has a poor prognosis. A clearly beneficial treatment modality is lacking.

Keywords: carcinomatous meningitis; cerebrospinal fluid; esophageal neoplasms; leptomeningeal carcinomatosis; meningeal carcinomatosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Adenocarcinoma / therapy
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Disease Progression
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meningeal Carcinomatosis / secondary*
  • Meningeal Carcinomatosis / therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies

Supplementary concepts

  • Adenocarcinoma Of Esophagus