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Neurology. 2011 Feb 22;76(8):705-10. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e31820d62eb.

Spectrum of paraneoplastic disease associated with lymphoma.

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Department of Neurosciences, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.



To define the frequency and clinical and immunologic characteristics of patients affected by paraneoplastic neurologic syndromes (PNS) and lymphoma.


Patients fulfilling the criteria for PNS associated with lymphoma collected from the European Commission-funded PNS Euronetwork group database were analyzed.


Fifty-three patients with Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) (24 patients, mean age 51, range 16-84) or non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) (29 patients, mean age 64, range 31-82) and PNS were analyzed. The most commonly associated PNS was paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration, present in 21 cases, with a higher prevalence in HL (16/24 cases). Peripheral nervous system (mainly demyelinating polyradiculopathies) and motor neuron involvement were more common in NHL. Onconeural antibodies were more frequent in patients with paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration, most commonly against the Tr antigen. Fifty percent of the patients with PNS and HL responded to chemotherapy, whereas neurologic improvement was less frequent (24%) in patients with PNS and NHL. In both groups, the survival rate was good. Overall, 10 out of 53 patients eventually died, with only 2 patients (1 with HL, 1 with NHL) dying from PNS.


PNS in patients with lymphoma are relatively rare. Paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration, mainly associated with anti-Tr antibodies, is more prevalent in HL and NHL, followed in our study by motor neuron disease in patients with NHL. Involvement of the peripheral nervous system is heterogeneous, with a prevalence of polyradiculoneuritis in patients with NHL.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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