Paraneoplastic phenomena associated with primary lung cancer have diverse initial manifestations and epitomize the systemic nature of human malignant disease. The spectrum of clinical features in patients with paraneoplastic syndromes ranges from mild systemic or cutaneous disease to hypercoagulability and severe neuromyopathic disorders. Although the diagnosis is often one of exclusion, an improved understanding of the pathogenesis involved in some of these syndromes has provided another means of recognizing the disorders and perhaps treating the affected patients. Proposed mechanisms of paraneoplastic processes include the aberrant release of humoral mediators such as hormones and hormone-like peptides, cytokines, and antibodies. In this update, we review the potential mechanisms, diagnosis, and treatment of paraneoplastic syndromes associated with lung cancer.
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