Neuro-oncologic Emergencies

Congratulations to Drs. Carolina Maciel and Katharina Busl on the publication of “Neuro-oncologic Emergencies,” which appears in the June 2024 issue of Neurocritical Care.


OBJECTIVE Neuro-oncologic emergencies have become more frequent as cancer remains one of the leading causes of death in the United States, second only to heart disease. This article highlights key aspects of epidemiology, diagnosis, and management of acute neurologic complications in primary central nervous system malignancies and systemic cancer, following three thematic classifications: (1) complications that are anatomically or intrinsically tumor-related, (2) complications that are tumor-mediated, and (3) complications that are treatment-related.

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS The main driver of mortality in patients with brain metastasis is systemic disease progression; however, intracranial hypertension, treatment-resistant seizures, and overall decline due to increased intracranial burden of disease are the main factors underlying neurologic-related deaths. Advances in the understanding of tumor-specific characteristics can better inform risk stratification of neurologic complications. Following standardized grading and management algorithms for neurotoxic syndromes related to newer immunologic therapies is paramount to achieving favorable outcomes.

ESSENTIAL POINTS Neuro-oncologic emergencies span the boundaries of subspecialties in neurology and require a broad understanding of neuroimmunology, neuronal hyperexcitability, CSF flow dynamics, intracranial compliance, and neuroanatomy.