Clinical features with anti fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) antibody-related polyneuropathy: a retrospective study

BMC Neurol. 2021 Feb 15;21(1):74. doi: 10.1186/s12883-021-02090-2.


Background: Despite its initial association with sensory neuropathies, anti-fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) antibodies have been since reported with a broad range of neuropathies and clinical features. The aim of the study is to report the clinical and electro diagnostic findings in a cohort of patients with sensory or sensorimotor polyneuropathy and anti-FGFR3 antibodies.

Methods: We performed a retrospective chart review to assess the clinical characteristics of patients with sensory or sensorimotor neuropathy related to FGFR3 antibodies. Descriptive statistics were reported using frequencies and percentages for categorical variables and median and interquartile range (IQR) for continuous variables.

Results: This study included 14 patients (9 women) with a median age of 51.9 years (IQR 48-57). The most common presenting symptoms were painful paresthesia (100%), gait instability (42.9%), constitutional symptoms (42.9%), and autonomic symptoms (28.6%). Onset of symptoms was chronic (≥12 weeks) in eight patients (57.1%). Examination showed a distal loss of sensation to pin prick (100%), as well as impaired vibration sensation (78.6%) and proprioception (35.7%), in the distal extremities. We also observed mild weakness in the distal lower-extremities (42.9%). Three patients (21.4%) had trigeminal neuralgia, three patients (21.4%) had co-existing autoimmune disease, and one patient (7.1%) had a history of renal cell carcinoma. The mean titer of FGFR3 antibody was 14,285.71 (IQR 5000-16,750). All 14 patients produced normal results in the neuropathy workup. Nerve conduction study and electromyography showed sensory axonal neuropathy in four patients (28.6%), sensorimotor axonal neuropathy in seven patients (50%), and a normal result in three patients (21.4%). For those with a normal NCS/EMG, a skin biopsy showed a non-length-dependent small fiber neuropathy.

Conclusions: Neuropathy related to FGFR3 antibodies can potentially involve small and large fibers, sensory and motor fibers, and even the trigeminal nerve, which contributes to a highly variable clinical presentation.

Keywords: Anti-FGFR3 antibody; Autoimmune neuropathies; Neuropathy; Sensory neuronopathies.

MeSH terms

  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Autoantigens / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / pathology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polyneuropathies / immunology*
  • Polyneuropathies / pathology
  • Polyneuropathies / physiopathology
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 3 / immunology*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Autoantibodies
  • Autoantigens
  • FGFR3 protein, human
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 3