Anti-glial nuclear antibody: marker of lung cancer-related paraneoplastic neurological syndromes

J Neuroimmunol. 2005 Aug;165(1-2):166-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2005.03.020.


We describe a new antibody, called anti-glial nuclear antibody (AGNA), in patients with paraneoplastic neurological syndromes (PNS) and small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC). AGNA was initially identified in 24 sera of our archives by immunohistochemistry on rat cerebellum. AGNA positive sera showed a characteristic nuclear staining of the Bergmann glia in the Purkinje cell layer. Immunoblots and probing a cerebellar expression library with AGNA sera did not identify the antigen. Twenty of the 24 patients with AGNA had PNS and all but two had lung cancer. AGNA was identified in 13/113 (11.5%) patients with SCLC compared with 0/122 with other types of cancer (p<0.0001). The frequency of AGNA was not higher than expected for the presence of SCLC in the different PNS subtypes except in LEMS (p=0.0002). AGNA was present in 13/30 (43%) of LEMS patients with SCLC, compared with 0/19 of LEMS patients without cancer (p=0.0006). We conclude that the recognition of AGNA is helpful since this antibody is found in PNS associated with SCLC, particularly LEMS, in which other onconeural antibodies are absent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm* / blood
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Biomarkers, Tumor* / blood
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / immunology*
  • Cell Nucleus / immunology*
  • Cerebellum / chemistry
  • Cerebellum / immunology
  • Cerebellum / pathology
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Neuroglia / chemistry
  • Neuroglia / immunology*
  • Neuroglia / pathology
  • Organ Specificity / immunology
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes, Nervous System / diagnosis*
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes, Nervous System / immunology*
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes, Nervous System / pathology
  • Rats


  • Antibodies, Neoplasm
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Biomarkers, Tumor