What is the prognosis of paraneoplastic syndromes?

Updated: Jan 12, 2021
  • Author: Luigi Santacroce, MD; Chief Editor: Wafik S El-Deiry, MD, PhD  more...
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Because paraneoplastic syndromes differ widely from individual to individual, prognosis may vary greatly. For example, disseminated intravascular coagulation indicates a poor prognosis, whereas hypertrophic osteoarthropathy is one of the few paraneoplastic syndromes that may indicate a more favorable prognosis. Some paraneoplastic disorders may resolve spontaneously.

In a long-term study of quality of life and survival in patients with Lambert‐Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS), Lipka and colleagues reported that survival was significantly longer in patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and LEMS than in those with SCLC alone (overall median survival 17 vs 7.0 months, P < 0.0001). [12]

Death may result from the underlying cancer or from an irreversible system impairment, usually acute heart failure or kidney failure. In a review of patients with paraneoplastic pemphigus, infection was a major cause of death. [13]

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