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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 30

of 'Overview of neurologic complications of non-platinum cancer chemotherapy'

Paraplegia following intrathecal methotrexate: report of a case and review of the literature.
Gagliano RG, Costanzi JJ
Cancer. 1976;37(4):1663.
A patient who developed paraplegia following the intrathecal instillation of methotrexate is discribed. The ten previously reported cases of this unusual complication are reviewed. The following factors appear to predispose to the development of this complication: abnormal cerebrospinal dynamics related to the presence of central nervous system leukemia, and epidural cerebrospinal leakage; elevated cerebrospinal fluid methothexate concentration related to abnormal cerebrospinal fluid dynamics and to inappropriately high methotrexate doses based on body surface area calculations in older children and adults; the presence of neurotoxic preservatives in commercially available methotrexate preparations and diluents; and the use of methotrexate diluents of unphysiologic pH, ionic content and osmolarity. The role of methotrexate contaminants, local folate deficiency, and cranial irradiation in the pathogenesis of intrathecal methotrexate toxicity is unclear. The incidence of neurotoxicity may be reduced by employing lower doses of methotrexate in the presence of central nervous system leukemia, in older children and adults, and in the presence of epidural leakage. Only preservative-free methotrexate in Elliott's B Solution at a concentration of not more than 1 mg/ml should be used for intrathecal administration. Periodic monitoring of cerebruspinal fluid methotrexate levels may be predictive of the development of serious neurotoxicity.