Neurological complications of pediatric cancer

Caren Armstrong, Lisa R. Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Both the onset of various malignancies as well as the treatment of cancer can lead to neurologic symptoms which can be difficult to diagnose. In this review, we highlight the varied ways in which neurologic sequelae of cancer and its treatment manifest in children. Initial neurologic presentation may be secondary to mass effect or to immune-mediated paraneoplastic syndromes. Treatment effects on the nervous system may arise from surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or bone marrow transplantation. In addition, the rapidly expanding field of immunotherapies for cancer has generated numerous new approaches to eradicating cancer including monoclonal antibodies, checkpoint inhibitors, and chimeric antigen receptor T cells (CAR-T cells), which have neurologic side effects mediated by immune responses that are also being recognized. Here we review common consult questions to the neurologist and our general approach to these scenarios including altered mental status, headaches, seizures, and sensorimotor complaints, considering the multifactorial nature of each.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-23
Number of pages21
JournalCancer and Metastasis Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Chemotherapy
  • Childhood cancer
  • Immunotherapy
  • Neurology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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