Document Detail

Paraneoplastic visceral neuropathy as a cause of severe gastrointestinal motor dysfunction.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  2844621     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The purpose of this study was to define the cause of severe gastrointestinal motor dysfunction in 7 patients with lung cancer. Six patients had small cell carcinoma and 1 patient had pulmonary carcinoid. Their ages ranged from 58 to 74 yr. All had intestinal pseudoobstruction and obstipation/constipation; 6 of 7 patients had gastroparesis; 4 of 4 patients had esophageal peristaltic abnormalities; and 2 patients had neurogenic bladders, autonomic insufficiency, and peripheral neuropathy. Five of 7 patients had dilated small bowel with 4 of them showing slow transit of barium; 2 of 7 patients had dilated colons; and 3 of 7 patients had slow colonic transit. Five patients died 4-9 mo after onset of gastrointestinal symptoms, and 2 survived. Post-mortem or surgical samples of the esophagus, stomach, small bowel, and colon showed neuron and axon degeneration and dropout, lymphoplasmacytic infiltration, and glial cell proliferation within the myenteric plexus of 6 patients. The antrum from the seventh patient had inflammatory cells within the myenteric plexus but without neuron dropout. Neuron numbers were significantly less than normal in each area of the gastrointestinal tract. Thus, we conclude that lung cancer may be complicated by severe gastrointestinal motor dysfunction resulting from visceral neuropathy of the myenteric plexus, a paraneoplastic effect of the cancer.
J S Chinn; M D Schuffler
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Gastroenterology     Volume:  95     ISSN:  0016-5085     ISO Abbreviation:  Gastroenterology     Publication Date:  1988 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1988-11-07     Completed Date:  1988-11-07     Revised Date:  2007-11-14    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0374630     Medline TA:  Gastroenterology     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1279-86     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle.
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MeSH Terms
Carcinoma, Small Cell / complications
Gastrointestinal Diseases / etiology*,  pathology,  physiopathology
Gastrointestinal Motility*
Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction / etiology*
Lung Neoplasms / complications
Middle Aged
Myenteric Plexus / pathology*
Paraneoplastic Syndromes / complications*
Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / etiology*,  pathology,  physiopathology
Grant Support

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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