What causes cutaneous paraneoplastic syndromes?

Updated: Jan 12, 2021
  • Author: Luigi Santacroce, MD; Chief Editor: Wafik S El-Deiry, MD, PhD  more...
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Causes of cutaneous paraneoplastic syndromes are as follows:

  • Itching results from hypereosinophilia and is typical of Hodgkin lymphoma, in which it has specific diagnostic and prognostic significance [10]

  • Immune system depression, which may be observed in most patients with cancer, is often responsible for the reactivation of latent varicella-zoster virus (VZV) in the sensory ganglia and subsequent attacks of herpes zoster

  • Pancreatic tumors can release several lipases and lithic enzymes into the bloodstream, leading to adipose nodular necrosis of subcutaneous tissues; this condition is characterized by painful pink to dark-reddish nodules under the skin; these nodules often ulcerate, causing leakage of an oily material

  • Flushes can be observed in patients with acute leukemias, mastocytosis, carcinoids, medullary thyroid cancer, or pancreatic carcinomas that secrete vasoactive substances, mainly prostaglandins (alpha, E1, E2, F2, I2)

  • Dermic melanosis results from melanin precursors that enter the bloodstream and, because they cannot be eliminated completely via urine, accumulate in the dermis, which results in a peculiar grey to black-bluish color of the overlying skin

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