The association between Lambert–Eaton myasthenic syndrome and small cell lung carcinoma
Sarah EW Briggs,1 Paul Gozzard,2 Denis C Talbot3
1Department of Oncology, Oxford University Hospitals Trust, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, UK; 2Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford UK; 3Department of Oncology, Oxford University Hospitals Trust, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, UK
Abstract: Lambert–Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) is an autoimmune disorder mediated by autoantibodies to voltage-gated calcium channels. The disorder is diagnosed clinically on the basis of a triad of symptoms (proximal muscle weakness, hyporeflexia, and autonomic disturbance), supported by electrophysiological findings and the presence of autoantibodies. Between 40% and 62% of patients diagnosed with LEMS are found to have small-cell lung cancer (SCLC), almost all of whom develop neurological symptoms before their cancer is diagnosed. Prompt identification of LEMS and appropriate screening for SCLC is key to improving the outcome of both conditions. Here we review the pathophysiology and clinical management of LEMS, focusing particularly on the relationship with SCLC.
Keywords: Lambert–Eaton, small-cell lung cancer, autoimmune
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