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

Jack B. Fu, Amy H. Ng, Diana M. Molinares, Edward A. Pingenot, Shinichiro Morishita, Julie K. Silver, Eduardo Bruera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-104
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • Cancer
  • Carcinomatosis
  • Leptomeningeal
  • Oncology
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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