Cutaneous manifestations in neuro-oncology: clinically relevant tumor and treatment associated dermatologic findings

Semin Oncol. 2016 Jun;43(3):401-7. doi: 10.1053/j.seminoncol.2016.02.029. Epub 2016 Feb 23.


Skin findings are a rare but important aspect of the evaluation and management of patients with tumors of the nervous system. Skin findings have the highest prevalence in genetic tumor syndromes termed neuro-genodermatoses, which include neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2), and tuberous sclerosis. Skin changes are observed in patients with non-syndromic nervous system malignancy, often as a result of pharmacotherapy. The skin may also manifest findings in paraneoplastic conditions that affect the nervous system, providing an early indication of underlying neoplasm, including dermatomyosistis, neuropathic itch, and brachioradial pruritus. In this article, we review the major cutaneous findings in patients with tumors of the brain, spine, and peripheral nervous system focusing on (1) cutaneous manifestations of genetic and sporadic primary nervous system tumor syndromes, and (2) paraneoplastic neurological syndromes with prominent cutaneous features.

Keywords: Brachioradial pruritus; Dermatomyositis; Neuro-oncology; Neurofibromatosis; Neuropathic itch; Tuberous sclerosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dermatomyositis / etiology
  • Dermatomyositis / pathology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms, Nerve Tissue / pathology*
  • Neoplasms, Nerve Tissue / therapy
  • Neurofibromatosis 1 / pathology
  • Neurofibromatosis 1 / therapy
  • Neurofibromatosis 2 / pathology
  • Neurofibromatosis 2 / therapy
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / pathology*
  • Tuberous Sclerosis / pathology*
  • Tuberous Sclerosis / therapy