Cancer and Cerebrovascular Disease

Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2019 Aug 23;19(10):73. doi: 10.1007/s11910-019-0985-0.


Purpose of review: To review the latest information about the interactions between cancer and cerebrovascular disease.

Recent findings: Additional data support the finding that both ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke are important complications of cancer or its treatment. Reperfusion therapy is being given successfully to patients with stroke complicating cancer. Hemorrhagic stroke may occur with metastatic disease to the brain, coagulopathies from cancer, in particular leukemia, or as complications of chemotherapy. Ischemic stroke also may be a complication of metastatic disease with local invasion of vessels, a pro-thrombotic disorder such as non-bacterial thrombotic endocarditis (NBTE) or disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), or secondary to chemotherapy. Stroke also is a potential consequence of radiation therapy to the head and neck. Venous sinus thrombosis may develop with hematologic malignancies or chemotherapy. Although many patients will have a history of cancer at the time of stroke, a cerebrovascular event may be the initial manifestation of a malignancy.

Keywords: Disseminated intravascular coagulation; Intracerebral hemorrhage; Ischemic stroke; Non-bacterial thrombotic endocarditis; Venous sinus thrombosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / etiology*
  • Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / diagnosis
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / etiology*
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / therapy
  • Leukemia / complications
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Stroke / complications