Management of paraneoplastic neurological syndromes: report of an EFNS Task Force

Eur J Neurol. 2006 Jul;13(7):682-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2006.01266.x.


Paraneoplastic neurological syndromes (PNS) are remote effects of cancer on the nervous system. An overview of the management of classical PNS, i.e. paraneoplastic limbic encephalitis, subacute sensory neuronopathy, paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration, paraneoplastic opsoclonus-myoclonus, Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome and paraneoplastic peripheral nerve hyperexcitability is given. Myasthenia gravis and paraproteinemic neuropathies are not included in this report. No evidence-based recommendations were possible, but good practice points were agreed by consensus. Urgent investigation is indicated, especially in central nervous system (CNS) syndromes, to allow tumour therapy to be started early and prevent progressive neuronal death and irreversible disability. Onconeural antibodies are of great importance in the investigation of PNS and can be used to focus tumour search. PDG-PET is useful if the initial radiological tumour screen is negative. Early detection and treatment of the tumour is the approach that seems to offer the greatest chance for PNS stabilization. Immune therapy usually has no or modest effect on the CNS syndromes, whereas such therapy is beneficial for PNS affecting the neuromuscular junction. Symptomatic therapy should be offered to all patients with PNS.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Advisory Committees*
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome / therapy
  • Limbic Encephalitis / diagnosis
  • Limbic Encephalitis / therapy
  • Nervous System Diseases / classification
  • Nervous System Diseases / complications
  • Nervous System Diseases / therapy*
  • Paraneoplastic Cerebellar Degeneration / diagnosis
  • Paraneoplastic Cerebellar Degeneration / therapy
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / classification
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / complications
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / therapy*
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes, Nervous System / diagnosis
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes, Nervous System / therapy
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / therapy
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards
  • Societies, Medical*