Paraneoplastic syndromes in patients with urological malignancies

Urol Int. 2009;83(1):1-11. doi: 10.1159/000224860. Epub 2009 Jul 27.


Introduction: Paraneoplastic syndromes (PNS) may represent the main clinical problem in cancer patients; however, the knowledge of their clinical aspect remains quite poor among urologists.

Objective: To provide urologists with an overview on main clinical aspects of PNS that have been reported to be associated to urological cancers.

Methods: Literature search of peer-reviewed papers published by July 2008.

Results: All genitourinary tumors can cause a PNS, and renal cell carcinoma is the most frequent urological malignancy involved. Prostate cancer is the second urological tumor associated with PNS which, conversely, are uncommon in bladder cancer and rare in testicular cancer. Tumor neuroendocrine differentiation is involved in most endocrine PNS. Neurologic PNS are very uncommon but may dominate the clinical picture and need a high suspicion index to be recognized. Important advances have been made on radionuclide scan methods in order to detect the primary tumor. The most effective treatment strategy is always represented by the radical therapy of the underlying cancer, but specific therapeutic options are sometimes available.

Conclusions: Endocrine PNS are frequently associated with urological cancers, especially renal and prostate carcinoma. PNS have been rarely reported in association with cancers of bladder, urethra and testicle.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Paraneoplastic Endocrine Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Paraneoplastic Endocrine Syndromes / etiology
  • Paraneoplastic Endocrine Syndromes / therapy
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / etiology
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / therapy
  • Urogenital Neoplasms / complications*