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Paraneoplastic Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Sep 15, 2023

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Causes Of Neoplastic Syndrome

Symptoms Of Paraneoplastic Syndrome

The nervous system

Disorders of the nervous system

Syndromes of rheumatic paraneoplastic disease

Syndromes of Blood Cancer

Syndromes associated with skin cancer

What Cancers Are Associated with Paraneoplastic Syndrome?

Diagnosis Of Paraneoplastic Syndrome

Treatment Of Paraneoplastic Syndrome

Paraneoplastic Symdrome

A paraneoplastic syndrome is a collection of symptoms that might occur when you have cancer. Symptoms are brought on by malignant tumours altering your body in ways unrelated to cancer. 

The cancer may emit a protein or hormone that has an impact on a particular organ system. When you have paraneoplastic syndromes, your immune system produces antibodies to fight the cancer. An autoimmune response brought on by the antibodies results in the death of healthy cells.

A few examples of the different body systems and organs that paraneoplastic illnesses can affect include the nervous system, endocrine system (hormones), kidneys, bones, joints, skin, blood, etc.


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Causes Of Neoplastic Syndrome

Some malignant tumours release chemicals, such as hormones or proteins, that make some organs in your body function abnormally. As a result, you can suffer symptoms that wouldn't exist in the absence of the tumour. Without medical intervention, these toxins can harm a system or organ permanently.

Paraneoplastic disorders frequently result from your body's immune system accidentally harming healthy tissue. A molecule called an antibody is produced by your immune system. By recognising and eliminating aberrant cells, such as cancer cells, antibodies shield you against disease. Occasionally, the signals get mixed up, and antibodies attack healthy cells and tissue instead, leading to symptoms of a paraneoplastic disease.

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Symptoms Of Paraneoplastic Syndrome

Depending on the organ systems affected, paraneoplastic disorders have different symptoms. 60% of the time, individuals have symptoms before being given a cancer diagnosis. Early detection of a paraneoplastic syndrome can assist your doctor in detecting cancer when it is most treatable—early on.

The following are typical signs of a paraneoplastic syndrome:

  • Fever.
  • Loss of weight and appetite.
  • Sweats during the night.
  • System-specific symptoms may be brought on by paraneoplastic diseases that target specific bodily organs or systems.

The nervous system

The following symptoms could be brought on by paraneoplastic syndromes that affect your peripheral nervous system and central nervous system, respectively (nerves outside of your brain and spinal cord):

  • Dizziness.
  • Dual vision.
  • Speech impediment.
  • Loss of memory.
  • Seizures.
  • Muscular weakness.
  • Reduced feeling, coordination, or reflexes.
  • Loss of sensation in your legs and arms.
  • the endocrine system

Your endocrine system may be affected by paraneoplastic syndromes, which can result in:

  • Fatigue.
  • High blood pressure
  • Weakening of the muscles.
  • Vomiting and nauseous.
  • Unexpected weight gain.
  • Joints, bones, and muscles (rheumatologic)

Your joints, bones, muscles, and connective tissue may become affected by paraneoplastic syndromes, which can lead to:

  • Arthritis.
  • Stiffness or joint pain.
  • Skin

Your skin-related paraneoplastic disorders may result in:

  • Itching.
  • Flushing (redness).
  • Skin that has thickened.
  • Skin growths that are benign (not malignant).

There are many different paraneoplastic syndromes, such as those that impact your neurological system, endocrine system, joints, blood, skin, kidneys, etc.

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Disorders of the nervous system

  • Development of the cerebellum.
  • Dysautonomia.
  • Encephalitis.
  • Encephalomyelitis.
  • The Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS).
  • Myasthenia gravis (MG).
  • Myelopathy.
  • Neuromyotonia.
  • Opso-myoclonus syndrome.
  • (Peripheral) Neuropathy.
  • Persons who are rigid.

Endocrine paraneoplastic syndromes

  • Cushing's disorder.
  • Hypercalcemia.
  • Antidiuretic hormone syndrome with inappropriate secretion (SIADH).

Syndromes of rheumatic paraneoplastic disease

  • Fasciitis eosinophilic.
  • Erythromelalgia.
  • Osteoarthritis with hypertrophy.
  • a palmar fasciitis.
  • polyarthritis due to paraneoplastic disease.

Syndromes of Blood Cancer

  • Erythrocytosis is associated with paranoia.
  • Thrombocytosis in paraneoplastic disease.

Syndromes associated with skin cancer

  • "Acanthosis nigricans."
  • Dermatomyositis.
  • Leucocytoclastic Vasculitis
  • Paraneoplastic pemphigus
  • The Sweet Syndrome.

You can get a paraneoplastic syndrome that affects your kidneys called paraneoplastic glomerulonephritis.

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What Cancers Are Associated with Paraneoplastic Syndrome?

Paraneoplastic syndrome symptoms are typically the first signs of malignancy.

A paraneoplastic syndrome can appear in any patient with a malignant tumour. The following cancers are most frequently linked to paraneoplastic syndromes:

  • Ovarian cancer.
  • Stomach cancer.
  • Leukaemia.
  • Lymphoma.
  • Small-cell lung cancer.
  • Breast cancer.
  • Carcinoma of the pancreas.
  • Breast cancer.
  • Renal cancer.
  • Testicular cancer.

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Diagnosis Of Paraneoplastic Syndrome

A medical history, physical examination, and a number of tests will be used by your healthcare professional to identify paraneoplastic disorders.

  • Neurological examination: Paraneoplastic diseases frequently damage the neurological system, which affects the way your brain and muscles work. Your healthcare professional could ask you to do certain tasks to assess the health of your nervous system. Any modification in your strength, memory, or coordination will be evaluated.
  • Imaging: To check for a tumour that could be the source of your symptoms, your doctor may use imaging tests like CT scans, MRIs, and ultrasounds.
  • Blood tests: Blood tests may show abnormalities that could indicate the presence of a tumour or confirm the presence of antibodies linked to paraneoplastic diseases. Infections, hormonal imbalances, and metabolic disorders are just a few of the various ailments that blood testing might help your doctor rule out as potential causes of your symptoms.
  • Spinal tap: Your doctor might do a spinal tap (lumbar puncture) in some circumstances to check your cerebrospinal fluid for indications that antibodies are attacking healthy cells. Your healthcare professional puts a needle into your lower back during a spinal tap to remove a fluid sample. Your doctor will check the fluids later for antibodies.

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Treatment Of Paraneoplastic Syndrome

Your doctor will take care of the cancer that is causing your symptoms and is underlying. In order to lessen any harm to your body's organs or systems, they will also strive to treat your symptoms.

The following are some of the treatments for paraneoplastic syndromes:

  • Corticosteroids are drugs that lessen inflammation (swelling), such as cortisone or prednisone.
  • Drugs that suppress your immune system are known as immunosuppressants. Your paraneoplastic syndrome will be taken into account when your physician suggests a drug regimen.
  • Intravenous immunoglobulin: A remedy that eliminates the disease-causing dangerous antibodies. Your doctor injects you with healthy antibodies during the process, which kill the dangerous ones.
  • Plasmapheresis: A process that involves removing plasma (liquid) from your blood to lower the quantity of antibodies. The antibodies that harm healthy tissue are present in the plasma.
  • Physical and speech therapy: Strengthening exercises for the muscles that can aid with movement and speaking. If you suffer from a neurological paraneoplastic condition, this therapy might be necessary.

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