Case Report

Guillain-Barré Syndrome as a Paraneoplastic Manifestation of Small-Cell Carcinoma of Lung

Authors: Sajid Naveed, MD, MRCP, Kelechi Okoli, MD, MRCP, Jocelyn Hollingsworth, BS, Rahil Kasmani, MD, MRCP


Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) encompasses the variants of acute immune-mediated polyneuropathies usually preceded by an infection. A few case reports have associated GBS to neoplastic diseases. It remains unclear whether these are merely coincidental or represent paraneoplastic phenomena. The clinical features of GBS associated with oncological cases do not appear to differ from post-infectious GBS. We report a 74-year-old man in whom small cell carcinoma of lung (SCLC) was diagnosed during a presentation with GBS. Treatment with chemotherapy for SCLC and intravenous immunoglobulins led to complete neurological recovery and tumor regression.

Key Points

* GBS is classically triggered by a preceding bacterial or viral infection.

* Paraneoplastic syndromes occur in 10–20% of patients with lung malignancies and occur most frequently with small cell lung cancer (SCLC).

* Given the proposed pathogeneses of GBS and neurologic paraneoplastic syndromes, GBS in our patient most likely represents a paraneoplastic manifestation of SCLC.

* Usual therapy for GBS and successful treatment of the cancer may lead to neurologic recovery.

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