Paraneoplastic Syndromes Differential Diagnoses

Updated: Mar 14, 2023
  • Author: Luigi Santacroce, MD; Chief Editor: Wafik S El-Deiry, MD, PhD  more...
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Diagnostic Considerations

Early recognition of paraneoplastic syndromes may lead to clues about the underlying conditions and thus avoid diagnostic errors and permit earlier diagnosis and faster treatment. Remember that paraneoplastic syndromes may evolve over weeks to months (more rarely, 1-3 y) and then may stabilize, regardless of whether the patient's underlying condition improves or worsens.

Because paraneoplastic syndromes may be the first manifestation of a cancer, patients without a known cancer who present with one of the “typical” paraneoplastic syndromes should undergo investigation for cancer. If an underlying cancer is not found, surveillance for should continue for several years. [40]

Other disorders to consider in the differential diagnosis of paraneoplastic syndromes include the following:

  • Antiglomerular basement membrane disease
  • Dementia
  • Encephalopathy
  • Encephalitis
  • Myelitis
  • Encephalomyelitis

Differential Diagnoses