Which paraneoplastic syndromes are associated with small cell lung cancer (SCLC)?

Updated: Oct 11, 2018
  • Author: Winston W Tan, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Nagla Abdel Karim, MD, PhD  more...
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Answer

Paraneoplastic syndromes are rare disorders that are triggered by an altered immune system response to a neoplasm or ectopic production of a hormone or cytokine. Table 1, below, shows some examples of the paraneoplastic syndromes affecting the endocrine and neurologic systems in patients with SCLC.

See  Paraneoplastic Diseases for more information.

Table 1. Paraneoplastic Syndromes Affecting Endocrine and Neurologic Function in SCLC (Open Table in a new window)

Organ System

Syndrome

Mechanism

Frequency

Endocrine

SIADH

Antidiuretic hormone

15% [21]

Ectopic secretion of ACTH

ACTH

2-5% [22]

 

 

 

Neurologic

Eaton-Lambert reverse myasthenic syndrome

 

3% [23]

Subacute cerebellar degeneration

 

 

Subacute sensory neuropathy

 

 

Limbic encephalopathy

Anti-Hu, anti-Yo antibodies

 

ACTH = adrenocorticotropic hormone; SCLC = small cell lung cancer; SIADH = syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone.

Sources:  (1) Campling BG, Sarda IR, Baer KA, et al. Secretion of atrial natriuretic peptide and vasopressin by small cell lung cancer. Cancer. May 15, 1995;75(10):2442-51 [21] ; (2) Shepherd FA, Laskey J, Evans WK, et al. Cushing's syndrome associated with ectopic corticotropin production and small-cell lung cancer. J Clin Oncol. Jan 1992;10(1):21-7 [22] ; (3) Sher E, Gotti C, Canal N, et al. Specificity of calcium channel autoantibodies in Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome. Lancet. Sep 16, 1989;2(8664):640-3. [23]


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