Sensory neuronopathies (SNNs) encompass paraneoplastic, infectious, dysimmune, toxic, inherited, and idiopathic disorders. Recently described diagnostic criteria allow SNN to be differentiated from other forms of sensory neuropathy, but there is no validated strategy based on routine clinical investigations for the etiological diagnosis of SNN. In a multicenter study, the clinical, biological, and electrophysiological characteristics of 148 patients with SNN were analyzed. Multiple correspondence analysis and logistic regression were used to identify patterns differentiating between forms of SNNs with different etiologies. Models were constructed using a study population of 88 patients and checked using a test population of 60 cases. Four patterns were identified. Pattern A, with an acute or subacute onset in the four limbs or arms, early pain, and frequently affecting males over 60 years of age, identified mainly paraneoplastic, toxic, and infectious SNN. Pattern B identified patients with progressive SNN and was divided into patterns C and D, the former corresponding to patients with inherited or slowly progressive idiopathic SNN with severe ataxia and electrophysiological abnormalities and the latter to patients with idiopathic, dysimmune, and sometimes paraneoplastic SNN with a more rapid course than in pattern C. The diagnostic strategy based on these patterns correctly identified 84/88 and 58/60 patients in the study and test populations, respectively.
© 2012 Peripheral Nerve Society.