Speech and language findings associated with paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration

Teresa Paslawski, Joseph R. Duffy, Steven Vernino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration (PCD) is an autoimmune disease that can be associated with cancer of the breast, lung, and ovary. The clinical presentation of PCD commonly includes ataxia, visual disturbances, and dysarthria. The speech disturbances associated with PCD have not been well characterized, despite general acceptance that dysarthria is often part of the initial presentation. A retrospective study was conducted of the speech, language, and swallowing concerns of patients with PCD evaluated at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, between 1990 and 2001. Prospective speech and language assessments were then conducted with 5 patients who had PCD. While ataxic dysarthria was the most common speech diagnosis, a spastic component was recognized frequently enough to suggest that the subacute (days to weeks) emergence and progression of an ataxic or mixed ataxic-spastic dysarthria in the setting of a more diffuse cerebellar ataxia should raise suspicions about PCD and justify further investigation of a possible immune-related etiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-207
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of speech-language pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Ataxia
  • Brain disorders
  • Cerebellum
  • Dysarthria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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