Which metastatic cancers may cause cauda equina syndrome (CES)?

Updated: Jun 14, 2018
  • Author: Segun Toyin Dawodu, JD, MD, MS, MBA, LLM, FAAPMR, FAANEM; Chief Editor: Nicholas Lorenzo, MD, CPE, MHCM, FAAPL  more...
  • Print

For the spine in general, sources of spinal metastases are as follows [52] :

  • Lung cancer (40-85%)

  • Breast cancer (11%)

  • Renal cell carcinoma (4%)

  • Lymphatic cancer (3%)

  • Colorectal cancer (3%)

Although lung cancer is the most common source of spine metastases, in one study, only 0.7% of the lung cancer metastases to the spine produced cauda equina syndrome; most of the metastatic lesions were not at the level of the cauda equina. [52] Up to 8% of patients with prostate cancer experience malignant spinal cord compression; however, the percentage of cases involving cauda equina syndrome is unknown. [53]

The CE region is also a favored site for drop metastases from intracranial ependymoma, germinoma, and other tumors. [54] Other unusual metastatic spread from genitourinary and gynecologic cancer have also been reported at the conus region, causing neurological compromise. [55, 56]

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!