Rehabilitation Utilization by Cancer Patients with Pathology-Confirmed Leptomeningeal Disease Receiving Intrathecal Chemotherapy

Document Type


Publication Title

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation


The incidence of leptomeningeal disease (LMD) is believed to be increasing in part because of more effective chemotherapy treatments allowing cancer progression behind the blood-brain barrier. However, little has been published about the rehabilitation of this growing patient population. In this study, impairments and rehabilitation utilization by cytology-proven LMD patients receiving intrathecal chemotherapy at a cancer center are described. A total of 109 consecutive patients with pathology-confirmed LMD who received an intrathecal chemotherapy infusion from January 1, 2017, through October 31, 2017, were retrospectively reviewed. Of the 109 patients, 103 (95%) had impairments described in their medical record that could impact physical function, including 74 of 109 (68%) who had deconditioning or fatigue. Kaplan-Meier median survival from initial LMD diagnosis was 13.1 mos. The median number of hospital admissions and intrathecal chemotherapy administrations was both 8. Of the 109 patients, 43 (39%) had magnetic resonance imaging radiology interpreted LMD. Most LMD patients used rehabilitation services (95/109, 87%) and most were able to forego post-acute inpatient rehabilitation facilities (96/109, 88%). Additional research and education for rehabilitation professionals about this increasingly common syndrome are needed.



Publication Date



Antineoplastic combined chemotherapy protocols, brain neoplasms, meningeal neoplasms, spinal injections, retrospective studies