Meningeal carcinomatosis

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Meningeal carcinomatosis in a dog secondary bronchial carcinoma. Image shows meninges removed[1]

Meningeal carcinomatosis refers to brain neoplasia, particularly the cerebral and cerebellar meninges, by multiple diffuse and expansive carcinoma[2].

This disease is commonly reported in dogs secondary to mammary carcinoma[3] and bronchial carcinoma.

Affected dogs usually present with central neurological symptoms such as ataxia, circling, seizures and central blindness. Metastases within other organs may include other symptoms, often associated with vascular infiltration of organs with associated thromboembolism[4].

Diagnosis is based on clinical history and supportive evidence of tumors within the meninges, using CT or MRI imaging, which usually shows cyst-like structures and nodular enhancement within the subarachnoid space[5].

A definitive diagnosis usually requires histological examination of biopsied tissue samples.

A differential diagnosis would include lymphoma and choroid plexus tumor[6].

Palliative responses may be achieved with parenteral dexamethasone or oral prednisolone, but because of the metastatic nature of these tumors, treatment is rarely instituted and the prognosis is usually poor.


  1. Tufts University
  2. Pumarola M et al (1996) Meningeal carcinomatosis in a dog. Vet Rec 138(21):523-524
  3. Behling-Kelly E et al (2010) Neoplastic pleocytosis in a dog with metastatic mammary carcinoma and meningeal carcinomatosis. Vet Clin Pathol 39(2):247-252
  4. Mandara MT et al (2007) Cerebellar leptomeningeal carcinomatosis in a dog. J Small Anim Pract 48(9):504-507
  5. Mateo I et al (2010) Meningeal carcinomatosis in a dog: magnetic resonance imaging features and pathological correlation. J Small Anim Pract 51(1):43-48
  6. Lipsitz D et al (1999) Magnetic resonance imaging of a choroid plexus carcinoma and meningeal carcinomatosis in a dog. Vet Radiol Ultrasound 40(3):246-250