Cancer and Cerebrovascular Disease

  • Harold P. AdamsJrEmail author
Neurology of Systemic Diseases (J. Biller, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Neurology of Systemic Disease


Purpose of Review

To review the latest information about the interactions between cancer and cerebrovascular disease.

Recent Findings

Additional data support the finding that both ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke are important complications of cancer or its treatment. Reperfusion therapy is being given successfully to patients with stroke complicating cancer.


Hemorrhagic stroke may occur with metastatic disease to the brain, coagulopathies from cancer, in particular leukemia, or as complications of chemotherapy. Ischemic stroke also may be a complication of metastatic disease with local invasion of vessels, a pro-thrombotic disorder such as non-bacterial thrombotic endocarditis (NBTE) or disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), or secondary to chemotherapy. Stroke also is a potential consequence of radiation therapy to the head and neck. Venous sinus thrombosis may develop with hematologic malignancies or chemotherapy. Although many patients will have a history of cancer at the time of stroke, a cerebrovascular event may be the initial manifestation of a malignancy.


Ischemic stroke Venous sinus thrombosis Non-bacterial thrombotic endocarditis Intracerebral hemorrhage Disseminated intravascular coagulation 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Harold P. Adams Jr. declares no potential conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Cerebrovascular Diseases, Department of Neurology, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa Hospitals and ClinicsUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA

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