Use of intravenous thrombolysis in acute ischemic stroke management in patients with active malignancies: A topical review

Document Type



Objectives: Our review aims to present existing data on the safety of Intravenous thrombolysis (IVT) use in acute ischemic stroke (AIS) patients with concomitant central nervous system or systemic malignancies, with attention to special circumstances pertaining to specific cancer subtypes to help in acute decision making, especially for neurologists and emergency medicine physicians.
Methods: A literature search was conducted on electronic databases inclusive of Medline, EMBASE and CINAHL for articles published or available in English between January 1, 2000 to June 1, 2020 using the following search terms: "acute ischemic stroke," "cerebrovascular disease," "Intravenous thrombolysis," "tissue plasminogen activator," "cancer patients," and "neoplasm".
Conclusion: Recognition of stroke symptoms in patients with active cancer, in particularly those involving the brain, requires astute clinical judgement. Decision-making can be improved by understanding baseline functional status, cancer prognosis and expected disability from stroke, as well as utilizing diagnostic modalities such acute MRI where needed. While this article does not encourage use of IVT in patients with all malignancies, it lays the groundwork for decision making should thrombolysis be a consideration in a patient with AIS in a cancer patient.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases