Paraneoplastic movement disorders

Shyamal H. Mehta, John C. Morgan, Kapil D. Sethi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Neurologic paraneoplastic syndromes (NPSs) result from damage to the nervous system due to the remote effects of cancer not related to metastasis, infection, or metabolic derangements. NPSs are rare, affecting 1 in 10,000 patients with cancer. Pathogenesis is likely related to the immune mechanisms: normal neural tissue is mistakenly attacked due to the similarity in the onconeural antigens expressed by the tumor cells. Among the various "classic" and other NPSs, this review focuses on paraneoplastic movement disorders, including ataxia due to cerebellar degeneration, stiffperson syndrome, opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome, chorea, parkinsonism, and tremor. The recently described syndrome of paraneoplastic anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor encephalitis is also included, given that these patients have complex movements such as stereotypies and dyskinesias in addition to psychiatric symptoms, altered sensorium, and other neurologic signs. Although variable, treatment and prognosis of NPSs rely heavily on treatment of the underlying malignancy and immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-291
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent neurology and neuroscience reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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