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Nick Thomson, Karel Pacak, Meic H. Schmidt, Cheryl A. Palmer, Karen L. Salzman, Marjan Champine, Joshua D. Schiffman, and Adam L. Cohen

Leptomeningeal dissemination of paraganglioma is rare, with only 2 prior cases in the literature. The authors present the case of a metastatic low-grade lumbar paraganglioma via leptomeningeal dissemination. This report emphasizes the utility of 3,4-dihydroxy-6-18F-fluoro-l-phenylalanine (18F-FDOPA) PET scanning for diagnosis, as well as the combination of radiation therapy and alkylating chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of this rare phenomenon. The patient was a 61-year-old woman who presented with low-back pain and was found to have an isolated L-3 intrathecal tumor on MRI. Sixteen months after gross-total en bloc resection of the paraganglioma, the patient again became symptomatic with new neurological symptoms. MRI findings revealed enhancing leptomeningeal nodules throughout the spine. 18F-FDOPA PET/CT scanning was used to confirm the diagnosis of disseminated paraganglioma. Intrathecal thiotepa, radiation therapy, and systemic therapy with capecitabine and temozolomide have been used sequentially over a 2-year period, with each able to stabilize tumor growth for several months. The authors also summarize the 2 other reports of leptomeningeal dissemination of paragangliomas in the literature and compare the course and management of the 3 cases.