Autoantibody targets and their cancer relationship in the pathogenicity of paraneoplastic retinopathy

Grazyna Adamus
Autoimmunity Reviews 2009, 8 (5): 410-4
Paraneoplastic retinopathies (PR), including cancer-associated retinopathy (CAR) or the closely related melanoma-associated retinopathy (MAR) occur in a small subset of patients with retinal degeneration and systemic cancer. This autoimmune syndrome is characterized by sudden, progressive loss of vision in association with circulating anti-retinal autoantibodies. The PR syndromes are heterogeneous, may produce a number of ocular symptoms, and may be associated with several different neoplasms, including lung, breast, prostate, gynecological, and colon cancer, melanoma, and hematologic malignancies. We examined the onset of retinopathy in correlation to the diagnosis of cancer and the presence of specific anti-retinal autoantibodies in PR patients. In some patients without diagnosed malignant tumors, the onset of ocular symptoms and the presence of autoantibodies preceded the diagnosis of cancer by months to years, including anti-recoverin, anti-transducin-alpha, and anti-carbonic anhydrase II antibodies. Although anti-retinal autoantibodies may not be a good predictor of a specific neoplasm, they can be used as biomarkers for different subtypes of retinopathy. Identification of autoantibodies involved in autoimmune-mediated PR will help elucidate the mechanisms underlying the PR syndromes and develop targeted therapies for these sight-threatening disorders.

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