Paraneoplastic movement disorders

Karolina Popławska-Domaszewicz, Jolanta Florczak-Wyspiańska, Wojciech Kozubski, Sławomir Michalak
Reviews in the Neurosciences 2018 September 25, 29 (7): 745-755
Paraneoplastic movement disorders are rare, autoimmune-mediated, nonmetastatic complications of malignant neoplasms. Common paraneoplastic movement disorders include paraneoplastic chorea, dystonia, cerebellar degeneration, different types of encephalitis, opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome, stiff person syndrome, and neuromyotonia. Syndromes usually develop before tumor diagnosis, have subacute onset, and are associated with serum or cerebrospinal fluid antibodies. Two types of antibodies can be distinguished: antibodies against nuclear and cytoplasmic neuronal antigens (anti-Hu, anti-Ri, anti-Yo, anti-Ma, anti-CV2/CRMP5, anti-Gephrin, and anti-GABATRAP) and antibodies recently identified against cell surface and synaptic proteins (anti-NMDAR, anti-LGI1, and anti-Caspr2). These two types differ from each other in a few important aspects. Antibodies against cell surface and synaptic protein disrupt cell-surface antigens. Clinical symptoms are related to the disruption of antigens and potentially can be reversed by immunotherapy. The association between these antibodies and malignancy is much less consistent. On the other hand, antibodies against nuclear and cytoplasmic neuronal antigens seem to be not pathogenic; however, they most likely indicate a T-cell-mediated immune response against neurons. Due to T-cell-mediated neuronal loss, response to immunotherapy is generally disappointing. Early recognition of all these diseases is crucial because it may lead to the disclosure of occult cancer. This review is focused on paraneoplastic movement disorders with emphasis on clinical presentations, investigational findings, and therapeutic results.

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