Focal dystonia after chemotherapy: A case series

A. Brashear, E. Siemers

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30 Scopus citations


Dystonia is a rare neurologic disorder of the basal ganglia presenting with involuntary twisting or turning spasm of muscles. Movements localized to the face, eyes, or neck generally present during late adulthood. Cranial dystonia is usually idiopathic but may be caused by trauma or medications. Of 148 patients with focal dystonia referred to Indiana University over four years, four women had the onset of face and neck symptoms eight days to 34 months after completing treatment with chemotherapy alone or combined with radiation therapy. Two patients were treated with 5-FU, one received doxorubicin and one was treated with both. Both drugs have been associated with transient parkinsonism, but no chemotherapeutic medications have been reported to cause dystonia. Three patients remain free of demonstrable malignancy. A possible association of chemotherapy and focal dystonia has not been previously described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-167
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neuro-Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 10 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Chemotherapy
  • Dystonia
  • Movement disorder
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Parkinsonism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


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