Background: Most metastatic spinal cord lesions are located either in the intradural, extramedullary, or in the epidural compartments. Intramedullary spinal cord metastasis (ISCM) is a rare central nervous system spread of cancer. The aim of this report was to evaluate ISCM in the published literature.

Methods: A literature review of PubMed from 1960 to 2016 was undertaken for the publications having demographic, clinical, histological, and outcome data.

Results: A total of 59 relevant papers were identified, showing 128 cases of intramedullary metastasis from lung cancer. The incidence of lung cancer as the primary malignancy with intramedullary metastasis was 56%. The median time from diagnosis of primary to intramedullary metastasis was 6 months. Survival improved with multimodality therapy compared to monotherapy (4 months vs. 6.3 months) (hazard ratio = 0.501; 95% confidence interval, 0.293–0.857).

Conclusion: Lung cancer is the predominant cause of intramedullary involvement of the spinal cord. Overall prognosis is poor, although a multimodality approach was associated with improved survival.

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Published in Hematology/Oncology and Stem Cell Therapy, v. 10, issue 3, p. 143-150.

© 2017 King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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