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INTRODUCTION

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Paraneoplastic neurologic syndromes are heterogenous disorders that can occur in the setting of various types of cancer (1). Paraneoplastic neurologic disorders are commonly caused by immune-mediated mechanisms triggered by an underlying tumor and have to be distinguished from neurological symptoms related to direct tumor invasion, infection, vasculopathy, ischemia, metabolic disturbances, or treatment-related toxicities.

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Abnormal antibody or T-cell-mediated responses can target any part of the central, peripheral or autonomic nervous system to cause a diverse range of neurological symptoms. In general, the incidence of paraneoplastic syndromes is less than 1% in the general cancer population, but may be more frequently seen in specific types of cancer, such as small cell lung cancer (SCLC), cancers of the ovary and breast, and thymoma.

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The diagnosis of a paraneoplastic neurologic syndrome is primarily clinical. Classical paraneoplastic syndromes (Table 65-1) may develop before the diagnosis of cancer, in a patient with known cancer, or in a patient considered to be in cancer remission. While an extensive search for an underlying tumor is warranted in classical paraneoplastic syndromes, such as paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration (PCD) or Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome, it may be noteworthy that several neurologic syndromes designated as "paraneoplastic" may also be seen in non-neoplastic autoimmune diseases.

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Table Graphic Jump Location
TABLE 65-1CLASSICAL PARANEOPLASTIC SYNDROMES OF THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
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Since paraneoplastic syndromes often herald ...

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