Neurologic features as initial presentations of childhood malignancies

Sabiha Aysun, Meral Topçu, Meral Günay, Haluk Topaloǧlu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Thirty patients were examined initially because of neurologic problems and later were diagnosed as having systemic malignant disorders. Acute leukemia was the most common malignancy (36.6%), followed by neuroblastoma (33.3%), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (13.3%), rhabdomyosarcoma (10%), Ewing tumor (3.3%), and Hodgkin lymphoma (3.3%). Four of the 11 acute leukemia patients had nervous system involvement due to meningeal, orbital, or cerebellar infiltration. The complaints of the remaining patients included back pain, weakness, and difficulty in walking, all of which were caused by anemia or bone pain. Neurologic involvement in systemic malignancies, other than acute leukemia, mainly appeared as spinal cord compression (7 with neuroblastoma, 3 non-Hodgkin lymphoma, 1 rhabdomyosarcoma, 1 Ewing tumor), orbital or cavernous sinus infiltration (3 with acute leukemia, 1 rhabdomyosarcoma), and VIIth cranial nerve involvement (2 with rhabdomyosarcoma). One patient had skull infiltration without any neurologic deficit. Cerebellar signs were caused by the remote effects of cancer. It is concluded that acute leukemia is the first and neuroblastoma is the second most common malignancy among childhood systemic malignancies presenting with neurologic involvement; however, neuroblastoma is the most common cause of spinal cord compression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-43
Number of pages4
JournalPediatric Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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