Lambert-eaton myasthenic syndrome; pathogenesis, diagnosis, and therapy

Autoimmune Dis. 2011;2011:973808. doi: 10.4061/2011/973808. Epub 2011 Sep 29.


Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome (LEMS) is a rare disease with a well-characterized pathogenesis. In 50% of the patients, LEMS is a paraneoplastic manifestation and caused by a small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC). Both LEMS patients with SCLC and those without this tumour have in 85% of cases pathogenetic antibodies of very high LEMS specificity against voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) in the cell membrane of the presynaptic motor nerve terminal. Better understanding of LEMS pathogenesis has lead to targeted symptomatic therapy aimed at the neuromuscular junction and to semispecific immuno-suppression. For SCLC LEMS, tumour therapy is essential.