Paraneoplastic syndromes refer to a group of rare diseases or disorders triggered due to an abnormal immune system in response to any cancerous tumor referred to as a neoplasm. Paraneoplastic syndromes often take place when while blood cells or cancer-fighting antibodies i.e. T cells also attack normal cells with cancer cells present in the human nervous system.
How Dangerous Is Paraneoplastic Syndrome?
Paraneoplastic syndromes mainly affect middle-age and old people, while they are common among individuals suffering from lymphatic, ovarian, lung and breast cancers.
Neurologic symptoms often develop within only a few days to weeks, while taking place even before the identification of the tumor. (1) (2)
Common symptoms associated with paraneoplastic syndromes are difficulty in chewing and swallowing foods, difficulty in walking, loss of fine motor coordination, loss of muscle tone, memory loss, slurred speech, vision problems, dementia, sleep disturbances, sensory loss of limbs, seizures and dizziness or vertigo.
Until now, paraneoplastic syndromes mainly take place as-
- Stiff-person syndrome
- Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic syndrome
- Myasthenia gravis
- Cerebellar degeneration
- Brainstem encephalitis or limbic encephalitis
- Sensory neuropathy
Paraneoplastic neurological disorders are a diversified and rare group of neurological conditions, which may involve in any part of one’s nervous system. Diagnosis helps in finding specific autoantibodies to fight against neural antigens present in the sera as well as in the cerebrospinal fluid. Now, while talking about the treatment options, we should say that paraneoplastic syndromes do not have any cure or no treatment options to stop its progressive damage. In most of the cases, the specific stage and type of cancer during the diagnosis phase is responsible to determine the outcome.
On the other side, a few of the oncologists focus on the identification and elimination of underlying cancer malignancy to come up with a suitable treatment. Especially, immunomodulatory treatment options are gaining more importance, as in that case malignancy is able to identify while doctors complete the cancer treatment or oncology treatment. (1) (2)
Is Paraneoplastic Syndrome Contagious?
Paraneoplastic syndrome is not a contagious illness. Patients suffering from tumors associated with paraneoplastic syndromes have better conditions as compared to patients with the same types of tumors without the respective syndrome. This is because of lead time bias during the diagnosis of the tumor at an initial pre-symptomatic stage.
However, a few of the evidence has shown that neurologically normal patients with small cell lung cancer and low anti-Hu antibodies titers have better survival as compared to the stage and age-matched patients without the presence of such antibodies. (2) (3)
- Paraneoplastic Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Pathogenesis, Types
- How To Diagnose Paraneoplastic Syndrome & What Is The Best Medicine For It?
- What To Eat & Avoid When You Have Paraneoplastic Syndrome?
- What Is The Prognosis For Paraneoplastic Syndrome?
- What Is A Paraneoplastic Autoantibody Evaluation & What Cancers Cause Paraneoplastic Syndrome?
- Classification Of Paraneoplastic Syndrome
- How Does Paraneoplastic Syndrome Affect The Body & What Triggers It?