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5-FU-induced leukoencephalopathy with reversible lesion of splenium of corpus callosum in a patient with colorectal cancer
  1. Gyanendra Acharya1,
  2. Maria T Cruz Carreras1,
  3. Terry Wynne Rice2
  1. 1University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA
  2. 2Emergency Medicine, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Terry Wynne Rice, twrice{at}


5-Fluorouracil (5-FU), a commonly used antimetabolite and antineoplastic agent, has been approved for treatment of various cancers. Neurotoxicities are considered extremely rare side effects of 5-FU. We present a case of 5-FU-induced encephalopathy with diffusion-restricted reversible lesion of the splenium of the corpus callosum in a patient with colorectal cancer. The patient presented with confusion, dysarthria and agitation after 5-FU infusion. The prognosis of this toxic effects of 5-FU is usually good if recognised and treated in time. Emergency physicians, general practitioners and oncologists should be aware of this rare side effects of 5-FU chemotherapy and its diagnosis and treatment.

  • chemotherapy
  • colon cancer
  • unwanted effects / adverse reactions
  • delirium

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  • Contributors TWR provided initial medical care to the patient and identified the case as one of significant interest, provided the initial concept, revisions and editorial review. GA formulated the body of the manuscript and provided the response to reviewers comments. MTCC provided the revisions and response to the reviewer’s comments.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.