The paraneoplastic syndromes are signs or symptoms that occur as a result of organ or tissue damage at locations remote from site of the primary tumor or even though, metastases. These syndromes associated with lung cancer, can impair several organ functions and include neurologic, endocrine, dermatologic, rheumatologic, hematologic, and ophthalmological syndromes, as well as glomerulopathy and coagulopathy syndromes. However, the histology of lung cancer influences the type of associated paraneoplastic syndrome and they can occur in approximately a small percentage of patients with lung cancer. The most common syndromes are:
- Humoral hypercalcemia of malignancy in squamous cell carcinoma.
- Syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion in small cell lung cancer.
The definition of paraneoplastic syndrome includes also different effects of the tumor such as cachexia or the anemia of the chronic disease. Moreover, it is estimated that these syndromes occur in only a small number of patients with cancer (7% to 15%) but can occur in approximately 10% of patients with lung cancer.
The physiopathology of the paraneoplastic syndrome is related to abnormal production of biologically active substances or reaction cross between healthy tissue and tumor tissue. Nevertheless, the early diagnosis and treatment based on the oncological control of the primary tumor can improve the quality of life and may prolong survival of patients. The proposed mechanisms of paraneoplastic processes include the aberrant release of humoral mediators, such as hormones and hormone-like peptides, cytokines, and antibodies. Treating the underlying cancer is generally the most effective therapy for paraneoplastic syndromes.
These rare syndromes could be seen in any patient with lung cancer. Identifying those symptoms can generate a more accurate therapy. In Althian, we have plenty experience managing similar different cases in lung cancer patients, which is important because we know what we can do. Please contact us and we will be more than happy to explain you how we work and what it is our methodology to follow in any case.