Horacio Senties-Madrid, MD and Felipe Vega-Boada, MD
Paraneoplastic syndromes are disorders associated with cancer but without a direct effect of the tumor mass or its metastases on the nervous system. Small cell carcinoma of lung associated with paraneoplastic sensory neuronopathy and/or paraneoplastic encephalomyelitis with the presence of anti-Hu antibodies has been termed “anti-Hu syndrome. Anti-Hu associated PSN-PEM is an immune disorder in which both cell-mediated and humoral mechanisms are involved. Patients are consiaered affected by Anti-Hu associated PSN-PEM when they develop clinical signs and symptoms of CNS dysfunction and/or sensory neuropathy not caused by metastases or other disorders, and serum or cerebrospinal fluid is positive for Hu abs. SCLC is found in more than 90% of patients with cancer and positive Hu abs. Individual patients with Hu abs associated to SCLC may suffer PSN-PEM, Iimbic encephalitis, brainstem encephalopathy, opsoclonus-myoclonus, paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration or myelopathy. Hu abs have a specificity of 99% and sensitivity of 82% in detecting paraneoplastic neurological syndromes. There are two types of treatment: the first is to treat the cancer, the second is to suppress the immune reaction with the use of corticosteroids, cyclophosphamide, azathioprine, plasma exchange, intravenous immunoglobulin and immunoadsorption however, treatment of paraneoplastic syndromes is generally unsatisfactory.