Paraneoplastic limbic encephalitis as a cause of new onset of seizures in a patient with non-small cell lung carcinoma: A case report

Department of Pulmonary Medicine, 'G, Papanikolaou' General Hospital, Exohi Thessalonikis, Greece.
Journal of Medical Case Reports 02/2008; 2(1):270. DOI: 10.1186/1752-1947-2-270
Source: PubMed


The etiology of seizure disorders in lung cancer patients is broad and includes some rather rare causes of seizures which can sometimes be overlooked by physicians. Paraneoplastic limbic encephalitis is a rather rare cause of seizures in lung cancer patients and should be considered in the differential diagnosis of seizure disorders in this population.
This case report describes the new onset of seizures in a 64-year-old male patient receiving chemotherapy for a diagnosed stage IV non-small cell lung carcinoma. After three cycles of therapy, he was re-evaluated with a chest computed tomography which showed a 50% reduction in the tumor mass and in the size of the hilar and mediastinal lymphadenopathy. Twenty days after the fourth cycle of chemotherapy, the patient was admitted to a neurological clinic because of the onset of self-limiting complex partial seizures, with motionless stare and facial twitching, but with no signs of secondary generalization. The patient had also recently developed neurological symptoms of short-term memory loss and temporary confusion, and behavioral changes. Laboratory evaluation included brain magnetic resonance imaging, magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the brain, serum examination for 'anti-Hu' antibodies and stereotactic brain biopsy. Based on the clinical picture, the patient's history of lung cancer, the brain magnetic resonance imaging findings and the results of the brain biopsy, we concluded that our patient had a 'definite' diagnosis of paraneoplastic limbic encephalitis and he was subsequently treated with a combination of chemotherapy and oral steroids, resulting in stabilization of his neurological status. Despite the neurological stabilization, a chest computed tomography which was performed after the 6th cycle showed relapse of the disease in the chest.
Paraneoplastic limbic encephalitis is a rather rare cause of new onset of seizures in patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma. Incidence, clinical presentation, laboratory evaluation, differential diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of this entity are discussed.

Download full-text


Available from: Efrosyni Mylonaki
  • Source

    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Women with gynecologic malignancies are a population with various risk factors for epilepsy. Gynecologic malignancies can substantially affect daily life, even if the tumor is well controlled. Gynecologic malignancies may cause brain metastasis, paraneoplastic neurological disorders, or leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, which potentially directly cause seizures and epilepsy. Moreover, metabolic disorders, central nervous system infections, cerebrovascular complications, and chemotherapeutic drugs can indirectly induce ictus. Radiotherapy of brain metastases can also lead to seizure and epilepsy. Understanding these pathogenic mechanisms may provide novel viewpoints or methods for diagnosis, prevention and treatment of epilepsy associated with gynecologic malignancies. In this article, we extensively review the related literature regarding potential aetiologies, their mechanisms, clinical features, diagnosis and treatment.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2014 · Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Paraneoplastic neurological syndromes (PNS) are poorly described in patients without onconeural antibodies and in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We compared the clinical characteristics of PNS in lung cancer patients with and without onconeural antibodies. Medical records from patients with lung cancer and neurological symptoms referred for onconeural antibody analysis in the period 1995-2004 were analyzed and well-established diagnostic criteria used for the retrospective diagnosis of PNS. Thirty-one patients were diagnosed with PNS and included in the study. Data from the Cancer Registry of Norway and follow-up medical data were analyzed. Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) was the most common lung cancer in the 31 PNS patients (77%, P<0.01). Onconeural antibodies were found in 18 of the PNS patients (58%). Paraneoplastic encephalomyelitis (PEM) was the most common PNS among the seropositive patients (11 of 18 patients), of which 10 had SCLC. Various types of PNS were found in the 13 seronegative patients. Approximately 40% of PNS patients with lung cancer do not have onconeural antibodies. PEM was the most common PNS in the seropositive patients. Our results underline the importance of recognizing PNS in patients with NSCLC and those without onconeural antibodies. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2014 · Journal of the Neurological Sciences