Review of paraneoplastic syndromes in children

  • Grace MY. MaEmail author
  • Jeanne S. Chow
  • George A. Taylor


Paraneoplastic syndromes are defined as clinical syndromes that are not related to direct tumor invasion or compression but are secondary to tumor secretion of functional peptides/hormones or related to immune cross-reactivity with normal host tissue. Paraneoplastic syndromes have a wide range of presentations and can present before the primary malignancy or tumor recurrence is diagnosed. They can mimic non-neoplastic processes, making detection, diagnosis and treatment difficult. However, they can also provide clues to the presence of an underlying malignancy. In this paper, we reviewed a range of paraneoplastic syndromes that can occur in children including: (1) neurologic (opsoclonus-myoclonus, limbic, anti-N-methyl-d-aspartate [NMDA] and anti-Ma2 encephalitis and myasthenia gravis); (2) endocrine (neuroendocrine tumors, hypercalcemia, SIADH [syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion], osteomalacia/rickets and ROHHAD [rapid onset of obesity, hypoventilation, hypothalamic dysfunction and autonomic dysregulation]); and (3) dermatologic/rheumatologic syndromes (hypertrophic osteoarthropathy and paraneoplastic pemphigus). Familiarity with these syndromes can aid in early diagnosis, treatment and imaging optimization.


Children Computed tomography Magnetic resonance imaging Malignancy Oncology Paraneoplastic syndrome 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of RadiologyBoston Children’s HospitalBostonUSA

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