Onconeural antibodies in sera from patients with various types of tumours
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We assessed the frequency and levels of onconeural antibodies in 974 patients with various types of tumours, but without apparent paraneoplastic neurological syndromes (PNS).
Patients and methods
We included patients with the following tumours: 200 small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) patients, 253 breast cancer patients, 182 ovarian cancer patients, 266 uterine cancer patients and 73 thymoma patients, as well as 52 patients with PNS and cancer and 300 healthy blood donors. Sera were screened for amphiphysin, CRMP5, Hu, Ma2, Ri and Yo antibodies using a multi-well immunoprecipitation technique.
The most frequently detected antibodies were Hu followed by CRMP5. Ma2, Yo, amphiphysin and Ri antibodies were less common, but each was found at similar frequencies. Onconeural antibodies were present at similar levels in sera from the PNS control group and from cancer patients. Hu antibodies were rare in cancers other than SCLC. CRMP5 was the only antibody found in patients with thymoma and this antibody was more common among patients with thymoma than in other tumour patients. With one exception, coexisting antibodies were only found in patients with SCLC. The presence of onconeural antibodies in SCLC patients was not associated with prolonged survival.
Onconeural antibodies are associated with various types of tumours suggesting that all antibodies should be included in the serological screening for possible PNS. The levels of onconeural antibody are not sufficiently sensitive to discriminate between cancer patients with PNS and those without.
KeywordsOnconeural antibodies Cancer Paraneoplastic neurological syndrome Immunoprecipitation
We thank Kibret Mazengia and Emilia Lohndal, University of Bergen, for technical help. We also thank Lars Drivsholm, Storstrømmens Hospital, Per E. Lønning and Geir O. Skeie, Haukeland University Hospital, for sera and clinical information regarding the different tumour patients. This study was supported by grants from the Western Norway Regional Health Authority (Helse Vest) and the University of Bergen, Norway.
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