Open Access

Cluster-like headache: literature review

  • Pierric Giraud,
  • Emmanuel Jouanneau,
  • Françoise Borson-Chazot,
  • Michel Lanteri-Minet and
  • Guy Chazot
The Journal of Headache and PainOfficial Journal of the Italian Society for the Study of Headaches3:00021


Cluster headache (CH) is the most frequent primary trigeminal autonomic cephalalgia (Goadsby, 2001). Clinical symptoms have been clearly identified and are described in the IHS classification. Cluster-like headache (CLH), or symptomatic cluster headache, is a rare syndrome in which CH is associated with or disclosed by another neurological disease. The relationship between the two diseases is debated on a spatial and temporal bases. Relief of CH symptoms on treatment of the associated disease is a further argument. However, the simultaneous occurrence of the two diseases may be coincidental. First, the characteristics and pathogenesis of CH are reviewed. Second, published examples of CLH are described, including the pathophysiology proposed by the authors in each particular situation. In the final part, criteria for the identification of CLH in clinical practice are developed.

Key words Cluster-like headachesSymptomatic cluster headacheTumorCluster headache physiopathology