A Case of a Splitting Headache: Paraneoplastic Rhombencephalitis

Cureus. 2022 Apr 20;14(4):e24302. doi: 10.7759/cureus.24302. eCollection 2022 Apr.


Paraneoplastic neurologic syndromes are a set of rare neurological conditions with a wide variety of presentations, ranging from headache to gait imbalance. These conditions are often underreported and underdiagnosed. Paraneoplastic rhombencephalitis is a subtype that involves inflammation of the hindbrain. This case involves a 67-year-old female with metastatic small-cell lung cancer who acutely developed neurological symptoms with magnetic resonance imaging findings consistent with rhombencephalitis. Our case discusses the updated diagnostic criteria for paraneoplastic neurologic syndrome released in July 2021 compared with the prior criteria in 2004. In addition, it illustrates the importance of increasing awareness of this condition for early diagnosis and prompt treatment, which can potentially influence morbidity outcomes.

Keywords: acetylcholine ganglionic receptor antibody; paraneoplastic encephalomyelitis; paraneoplastic neurologic syndrome; paraneoplastic rhomboencephalitis; rhomboencephalitis; small-cell lung carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Case Reports