Case report: Paraneoplastic neurologic syndrome associated with squamous cell carcinoma of the tonsil

October 23, 2013
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Abstract

Paraneoplastic syndromes include a variety of disorders that affect the neurologic, endocrine, mucocutaneous, hematologic, and other systems as a result of neoplastic disease. Although their presentations vary, syndromes occur when tumor antigens exhibit cross-reactivity to similar antigens expressed by these systems. The antigens in the nervous system are called “onconeural” antigens. Although many disorders are associated with a comparatively high incidence of paraneoplastic neurologic syndromes, only a few cases have been associated with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the tonsil. We report the case of a 69-year-old man who initially presented with weakness and spastic gait. He was subsequently found to have a characteristic paraneoplastic tractopathy on thoracic magnetic resonance imaging. The subsequent workup and operative intervention identified a T2N0M0 SCC of the tonsil. Following resection, the patient's overall symptoms were significantly alleviated, and his gait improved. A thorough literature search yielded no other report of a tonsillar SCC with associated paraneoplastic thoracic spine tractopathy.

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