P/Q-type voltage-gated calcium channel antibodies in paraneoplastic disorders of the central nervous system

Muscle Nerve. 1999 Jan;22(1):119-22. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-4598(199901)22:1<119::aid-mus19>3.0.co;2-5.


Whether P/Q-type voltage-gated calcium channel (VGCC) antibodies are present in the serum of patients with paraneoplastic syndromes other than the Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) and tumors other than small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) is controversial. Using a commercially available radioimmunoprecipitation assay kit, we examined the sera of 93 patients with paraneoplastic syndromes of the central nervous system (CNS), including 27 patients with paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration (PCD) associated with tumors other than SCLC and 66 SCLC patients with paraneoplastic encephalomyelitis and sensory neuronopathy (PEM/SN). All PCD sera from patients with tumors other than SCLC were negative for P/Q-type VGCC antibodies. Eight of 66 (12%) SCLC patients with PEM/SN had P/Q-type VGCC antibodies; 4 had LEMS and the other 4 had no symptoms of LEMS or they were overlooked and, therefore, not examined electrophysiologically. In patients with paraneoplastic syndromes of the CNS, the detection of P/Q-type VGCC antibodies supports the diagnosis of LEMS; in our series, only 6% of patients with SCLC and PEM/SN may have had a false positive antibody result, or undiagnosed LEMS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Calcium Channels / immunology*
  • Calcium Channels, N-Type*
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / immunology
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / immunology*
  • Cerebellar Diseases / immunology
  • Encephalomyelitis / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome / immunology
  • Myasthenia Gravis / immunology
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / immunology
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / immunology*
  • Radioimmunoassay


  • Autoantibodies
  • Calcium Channels
  • Calcium Channels, N-Type
  • voltage-dependent calcium channel (P-Q type)