Guillain-Barré syndrome in a patient with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Ann Oncol. 2000 Feb;11(2):217-20. doi: 10.1023/a:1008389607293.


We describe a case of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) in a patient with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). A 21-year-old woman with a newly diagnosed stage IV high-grade lymphoma (precursor T-cell NHL according to the R.E.A.L. Classification) developed flaccid quadriparesis and bilateral facial diplegia after three weeks of treatment with vincristine, daunorubicin, L-asparaginase and prednisolone. The clinical course and neurological examination were consistent with GBS. Despite treatment with intravenous immunoglobulins her neurological symptoms progressed. Plasmapheresis was therefore initiated followed by intravenous immunoglobulins. After partial remission of neurologic symptoms, induction chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide and cytarabine was continued without any further complication. Three months later, the lymphoma was in complete remission. GBS has been described in Hodgkin's disease and after bone marrow transplantation but is rare in NHL. In patients with NHL who develop neurological symptoms, drug toxicity and nervous system infiltration are the leading cause of neuropathology, but GBS should be considered in the differential diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects*
  • Asparaginase / administration & dosage
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Daunorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / administration & dosage
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / complications
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / diagnosis
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / drug therapy*
  • Prednisolone / administration & dosage
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vincristine / administration & dosage
  • Vincristine / adverse effects


  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous
  • Vincristine
  • Prednisolone
  • Asparaginase
  • Daunorubicin