Paraneoplastic Syndrome: Symptoms Associated with Cancer | – Guide

Status: 06/21/2022 09:31

The cause of paraneoplastic syndrome can be a defense reaction of the body, provoked by the cancer. Fever and night sweats are common symptoms. Itching and hot flashes may also occur.

Paraneoplastic syndrome includes symptoms that accompany oncological diseases that are not caused by the malignant neoplasm itself, for example by suppressive tumor growth or destruction of normal tissue by the tumor or metastases.

Cause: body defense reaction

On the one hand, the cause of a paraneoplastic syndrome can be a defense reaction of the body, which is provoked by cancer. On the other hand, the messenger substances released by the tumor, such as cytokines and hormones, can trigger symptoms.

Examples of tumors in which paraneoplasia is more common are:

  • pancreatic cancer
  • blood cancer (leukemia)
  • breast cancer
  • ovarian cancer
  • liver cancer
  • linfomen
  • lung cancer
  • stomach cancer
  • kidney cell cancer

Symptoms: fever and night sweats

The general symptoms of paraneoplasia are:

  • Fever
  • night sweats
  • appetite and weight loss
  • severe exhaustion and listlessness.

Other symptoms usually appear in the area of ​​the nervous system, skin, or blood.

Skin symptoms: itching and hot flashes

Itching is common in cancer patients. Redness is also a symptom. Skin conditions such as shingles can also occur.

Cushing’s syndrome typical consequence of paraneoplasia

If tumors trigger excessive production of hormones such as insulin, glucagon, or adrenaline or norepinephrine, this can have far-reaching consequences for blood sugar and blood pressure. Cushing’s syndrome is a typical consequence of hormone-induced paraneoplasia: a tumor, for example in the lungs or pancreas, produces too much adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). This hormone in turn stimulates the production of cortisol in the adrenal glands, which increases the level of cortisol in the blood. The result can be, among other things, water retention in the legs, weakness and weight gain.

“Paraneoplasia: Injuries and Diseases of the Nerves

Paraneoplasia often leads to a nerve reaction and other sequelae:

  • Decreased reflexes and sensations and weakness are typical symptoms of polyneuropathy. The peripheral nerves are affected. Another form of polyneuropathy is subacute sensory neuropathy: impaired coordination and loss of sensation occur with this disease.
  • Stiff person syndrome is a rare and complex autoimmune inflammatory disease of the central nervous system and endocrine glands.
  • Subacute cerebellar degeneration can destroy the cerebellum. Disturbed coordination, speech problems and dizziness are the typical causes.
  • In subacute motor neuropathy, the nerve cells in the spinal cord are damaged and the movement of the arms and legs is affected.
  • Severe muscle weakness is typical of Eaton-Lambert syndrome, nerves and muscles can no longer be activated sufficiently.

Therapy: cancer treatment

Paraneoplastic syndrome is caused by cancer. This needs to be addressed. Three therapies are usually used for this:

  • Surgery (tumor removal)
  • chemotherapy
  • irradiation

If the paraneoplastic syndrome causes life-threatening derailments, for example in metabolism, this must be treated in parallel.

subject matter experts

Further information

Stiff person syndrome causes cramps and pain in the back and legs. The cause is a poorly guided immune system. Moreover

A multilayered image of a skull.  © colorbox photo: -

People with Cushing’s disease have a variety of symptoms and conditions. What’s behind it? Moreover

This topic in the program:

Visit | 21/06/2022 | 20:15

Keywords for this article


NDR logo

About the author


Leave a Comment