Paraneoplastic syndromes are systemic reactions to neoplasms mediated by immunologic or hormonal mechanisms. The most well-recognized paraneoplastic neurologic syndrome, both clinically and on imaging, is limbic encephalitis. However, numerous additional clinically described syndromes affect the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. Many of these syndromes can have imaging findings that, though less well described, are important in making the correct diagnosis. Moreover, imaging in these syndromes frequently mimics more common pathology, which can be a diagnostic challenge for radiologists. Our goal is to review the imaging findings of paraneoplastic neurologic syndromes, including less well-known entities and atypical presentations of common entities. Specifically, we discuss limbic encephalitis, paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration, paraneoplastic brain stem encephalitis, cranial neuropathy, myelitis, and polyneuropathy. We also demonstrate common diagnostic pitfalls that can be encountered when imaging these patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology