Rinsho Shinkeigaku (Clinical Neurology)

Case Report

A case of acute leukoencephalopathy induced by a combination of 5-fluorouracil and metronidazole

Tatsuya Fukumoto, M.D.1), Fumiaki Katada, M.D.1), Susumu Sato, M.D.1), Hidehiro Shibayama, M.D.1), Shigeo Murayama, M.D.2) and Toshio Fukutake, M.D.1)

1)Department of Neurology, Kameda General Hospital
2)Department of Neurology, Tokyo Metropolitan Geriatric Hospital

We describe a 66-year-old woman who received folinic acid, leucovorin, fluorouracil and oxaliplatin for advanced rectal carcinoma. These drugs were initiated on day 1, and a pelvic abscess was identified on day 7. Piperacillintazobactam was initially administered, but was changed to ceftriaxone and metronidazole on day 14 on the basis of antimicrobial susceptibility testing. On the following day, the patient reported blindness, and MRI of the brain showed signal abnormalities in the splenium of the corpus callosum on DWI, suggestive of metronidazole encephalopathy. Although the total body exposure was 2 g, metronidazole was discontinued. The patient developed coma a few days later, and MRI of the brain on day 26 showed high signal intensity extensively involving the white matter in the cerebrum as well as the brainstem and cerebellum. She died 37 days after the initial administration of the chemotherapy. Pathological studies demonstrated decreased staining intensity in the myelin sheath and multiple vacuolar alterations, consistent with toxicity induced by metronidazole and fluorouracil. Care should be taken when administering a combination of these drugs, even if the total body exposure to each drug is limited.
Full Text of this Article in Japanese PDF (773K)

(CLINICA NEUROL, 58: 118|123, 2018)
key words: 5-FU, metronidazole, leukoencephalopathy, pathology

(Received: 22-Sep-17)