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Is Paraneoplastic Syndrome An Autoimmune Disease?

Have you ever heard of autoimmune diseases? Are you one of the millions who are affected by one of them? A multitude of syndromes of the immune system, also known as autoimmune diseases, are more susceptible in females than in the males. Weariness, pain in joint and dermatology issues are typical signs of autoimmune disorders.

An autoimmune disease is a condition in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your body and impacts your health in a worse manner. There are many different types of autoimmune disease. It can affect anyone despite the age factor.

Is Paraneoplastic Syndrome An Autoimmune Disease?

Is Paraneoplastic Syndrome An Autoimmune Disease?

Paraneoplastic syndrome is an autoimmune disorder often defined as tumor-associated conditions and symptoms are not associated with the physical effects of primary or metastatic tumors. They are caused by substances secreted by a benign tumor.1

There are more than 80 different autoimmune diseases. Here are some of the most common ones.

Type 1 Diabetes– Also known as juvenile diabetes is a disease in which the pancreas does not produce any insulin. Therefore, it results in high blood sugar levels in the body.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)- This is the most common type of autoimmune arthritis caused when the immune system is not working properly. Rheumatoid arthritis is a severe inflammatory disease that can cause potential problem and pain to your joints.

Multiple Sclerosis – A potentially disabling disease of the brain, spinal cord and the optic nerves in your eyes in which your body mistakenly attacks parts of your body that are vital to everyday function.

Paraneoplastic Syndrome – Most of the body systems (neurological, endocrine, cutaneous, renal, hematologic, and gastrointestinal) are affected by this syndrome.

Telangiectasias is a really good example of cutaneous paraneoplastic syndrome. Almost 40% of the patients diagnosed with small cell lung cancer are affected by this condition.2

Causes And Occurrences

Paraneoplastic syndromes can happen with any type of cancer. Nevertheless, they are most common in patients with small cell lung carcinoma. However, they are not diagnosed among children unlike Wilms’ tumor and neuroblastoma. They are often difficult to be diagnosed and they are confused for other metastatic diseases.

Paraneoplastic syndromes are not caused by cancer cells rather by cancer spreading metastasis usually by other complications such as inflammation or treatment side effects.3.

How Autoimmune Diseases Are Treated?

Treatment of autoimmune disease majorly aims in combating the autoimmune response through immunosuppressant medications. Treatment often includes a combination of medications and surgery, as well as careful monitoring because most of these diseases are increased risks of re-occurrence.

However, treatment of neurological paraneoplastic syndromes involves treating cancer in order to suppress the immune response. Moreover, the treatment depends on the type of syndrome you have. Apparently, common treatment involves therapies and medications.

Two general treatment options are available for the paraneoplastic syndrome:

Treating The Underlying Tumor – They are treated through medications. However, drugs alone are not sufficient to combat the condition, therefore, your healthcare provider often suggests for therapy (chemotherapy). Some of the drugs used for treating this condition

Corticosteroids-Patients with paraneoplastic syndromes and anti-Ri antibodies may respond to corticosteroids and/or cyclophosphamide.

Immunosuppressant- The immune modulating agents are generally very effective in the treatment of this syndrome. They are often combined with chemotherapeutic cancer treatment

Treatment to improve the symptoms- Although there is no cure for the paraneoplastic syndrome, nevertheless their symptoms can be combated with plasmapheresis and intravenous immunoglobulin. The former cleanses antibodies from the blood and eases the symptoms whereas intravenous immunoglobulin contains healthy antibodies that have the potential to destroy the damaging antibodies in your blood.4


In addition to the treatment and medications, you can also pursue other therapies like physical therapy and speech therapy if the syndrome has caused severe disability. Although living with this condition is hard, yet new treatments and inventions are quite effective in managing this syndrome.


Also Read:

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 1, 2021

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