POEMS (polyneuropathy, organomegaly, endocrinopathy, M-protein and skin changes) syndrome is a rare cause of demyelinating neuropathy with monoclonal plasma cell proliferation, and POEMS neuropathy is usually chronically progressive. Herein, the authors report a 34-year-old woman with POEMS syndrome presenting as acute polyneuropathy. Within 2 weeks of disease onset, she became unable to walk with electrodiagnostic features of demyelination and was initially diagnosed as having Guillan-Barré syndrome. Other systemic features (oedema and skin changes) developed later, and an elevated serum level of vascular endothelial growth factor led to the diagnosis of POEMS syndrome. She received high-dose chemotherapy with autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation, resulting in good recovery. The authors also reviewed patterns and speed of progression of neuropathy in the 30 patients with POEMS syndrome; 22 (73%) of them were unable to walk independently with the median period of 9.5 months from POEMS onset (range 0.5-51 months). Whereas the speed of neuropathy progression varies considerably among patients, some POEMS patients can show acute or subacute polyneuropathy. The early diagnosis and treatment could result in rapid improvement as shown in the present patient.