Medline: 2153196

Journal of Clinical Oncology 8(1): 48-56, 1990.

Neurologic, computed cranial tomographic, and magnetic resonance imaging abnormalities in patients with small-cell lung cancer: further follow-up of 6- to 13-year survivors.

Johnson BE, Patronas N, Hayes W, et al.


To determine the subsequent evolution of neurologic, neuropsychologic, and intracranial anatomic findings in long-term survivors of small-cell cancer, we repeated an evaluation done 4 years previously in patients 6 to 13 years after treatment. Fifteen patients were reevaluated with a history and physical examination, mental status examination, neuropsychologic testing, computed cranial tomographic (CCT) scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). All but one was ambulatory and none were institutionalized. Thirteen of 15 had neurologic complaints, 10 of 15 had an abnormal neurologic examination, seven of 14 had an abnormal mental status examination, 12 of 14 had abnormal neuropsychologic testing, 12 of 15 had abnormal CCT scans, and seven of 15 had white-matter abnormalities on MRI scans. No dramatic decline in performance status, functional status, neurologic symptoms, or neurologic examination occurred in these patients with 4 years of additional follow-up. More patients showed a decline in mental status examinations and neuropsychologic testing than demonstrated improvement. Anatomic studies showed no dramatic changes in the CCT scans and MRI confirmed these findings. From these data we conclude that there is a slow decline in neuropsychologic function in some of the patients surviving more than 6 years from a diagnosis of small-cell lung cancer. The anatomic abnormalities documented by CCT scans and MRI are more frequent in patients with abnormal neuropsychologic function.

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