Paraneoplastic Neurologic Syndromes
National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.
Paraneoplastic neurologic syndromes (PNS) are a group of conditions that affect the nervous system (brain, spinal cord, nerves and/or muscles) in patients with cancer. The term "paraneoplastic" means that the neurological syndrome is not caused by the tumor itself, but by the immunological reactions that the tumor produces. It is believed that the body's normal immunological system interprets the tumor as an invasion. When this occurs, the immunological system mounts an immune response, utilizing antibodies and lymphocytes to fight the tumor. The end result is that the patient's own immune system can cause collateral damage to the nervous system, which can sometimes be severe. In many patients, the immune response can cause nervous system damage that far exceeds the damage done to the tumor. The effects of PNS can remit entirely, although there can also be permanent effects.
NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
P.O. Box 5801
Bethesda, MD 20824
National Cancer Institute
6116 Executive Blvd Suite 300
Bethesda, MD 20892-8322
Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Cancer Support Community
1050 17th St NW Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
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Last Updated: 7/3/2012
Copyright 2007, 2012 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.
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