Clinical characteristics of CNS metastases from primary gynecologic cancers

Gynecol Oncol Rep. 2019 Nov 11:30:100518. doi: 10.1016/j.gore.2019.100518. eCollection 2019 Nov.


The development of brain and central nervous system (CNS) metastases from primary gynecologic cancers is an extremely uncommon but deadly process. Through this retrospective case series of patients treated at a single institution from 2004 to 2018, we aim to explore potential clinical patterns of this phenomenon with respect to primary tumor type, histology, and symptomatology. A total of 42 patients were identified with CNS metastases, with 24 patients having endometrial cancer, 9 patients with ovarian cancer, 5 patients with cervical cancer, and 4 patients with gestational trophoblastic neoplasia (GTN). The two most common presenting complaints were headache and ataxia. Most patients (67%) presented with more than one lesion on imaging and the frontal lobe was most likely to be involved. The median age of diagnosis for both primary cancer and CNS metastasis were significantly younger in the GTN group when compared to other cancers. Meningeal involvement was more prevalent in patients with cervical cancer. Over 83% of endometrial cancer patients in this cohort had type II histologies, a significantly higher percentage than that in the general population. While the rarity of CNS metastases in primary gynecologic malignancies precludes routine screening, patients diagnosed with more aggressive histologic subtypes of endometrial and uterine cancers may benefit from a lowered threshold of brain imaging in the context of new onset neurological symptoms.

Keywords: Brain metastasis; CNS metastasis; Case series; Gynecologic malignancy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports