RATIONALE: Cancer-related stroke has been regarded as an emerging subtype of ischemic event. Acute treatment for this subtype may include the antiplatelet agents, anticoagulants, or endovascular intervention. PATIENT CONCERNS: A 63-year-old woman with sudden-onset right hemiparesis and conscious change was sent to our emergency department. The patient had underlying sigmoid adenocarcinoma and received chemotherapy FOLFIRI (FOL, folinic acid; F, fluorouracil; and IRI, irinotecan) with targeted therapy cetuximab following lower anterior resection since the diagnosis was made. DIAGNOSES: Brain magnetic resonance angiography revealed a filling defect in left carotid bulb, and neurosonography showed a thick atherosclerotic plaque (size 4.9 mm) in the left internal carotid artery on day 5 after the onset of stroke. INTERVENTIONS: During the first three hours after onset, administration of IV tissue plasminogen activator did not resolve the thrombus. Dabigatran (110 mg bid) started on day 7. OUTCOMES: The atherosclerotic plaque dissolved on day 24. The patient recovered her muscle strength but still had nonfluent speech in mild extent. LESSONS: Thrombolytic and anticoagulant medications in this patient suggested the thrombus formation with fibrin-rich content which may be attributable to both cancer and chemotherapy. Dabigatran, an oral anticoagulant, had a benefit for this subtype of ischemic stroke among patients with cancer.
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