paraneoplastic syndromes

Last reviewed 01/2018

Paraneoplastic syndromes are symptom complexes, occurring in patients with cancer, which cannot be explained by:

  • the tumour
  • metastases
  • the hormones which are normally secreted by the tissue within which the tumour arose

Paraneoplastic syndromes are seen in about 10% of patients with advanced malignant disease.

It is important to diagnose a paraneoplastic syndrome because:

  • it may be the first presentation of an occult neoplasm
  • it may pose significant clinical problems
  • it may confound diagnosis and treatment