Paraneoplastic Visual Syndromes

  • Anitha Raghunath
  • Jade S. Schiffman
Part of the M.D. Anderson Solid Tumor Oncology Series book series (MDA, volume 6)


A paraneoplastic visual syndrome is a syndrome of cancer-related ocular dysfunction that is not due to either direct effects of primary or metastatic tumor or treatment or treatment-related complications. Paraneoplastic visual syndromes are thought to be principally autoimmune conditions in which the tumor expresses a neuronal antigen that triggers an immune response against cross-reacting ocular antigens. Carcinoma-associated retinopathy (CAR), the most common paraneoplastic visual disorder, results in visual loss that is usually bilateral, rapid, and painless, with both cone and rod dysfunction. The carcinoma-associated cone dysfunction syndrome, part of the CAR spectrum, is very rare; patients with this syndrome have antibodies primarily directed against cones. Melanoma-associated retinopathy is distinguished by symptoms such as sudden shimmering and night blindness; usually, there is near normal color vision, visual acuity, and central vision. Paraneoplastic optic neuropathy is a syndrome of visual loss that is usually characterized by bilateral optic disc swelling, nerve fiber layer hemorrhages, and vitritis; sometimes there are abnormal findings on electroretinography. Treatments that have been tried in patients with paraneoplastic visual syndromes include immunotherapies and monoclonal antibodies. Though temporary improvement in vision has been reported, a progressive decline to severe visual loss is the usual course, even with treatment.


Uveal Melanoma Night Blindness Serous Macular Detachment Acute Zonal Occult Outer Retinopathy Vitelliform Macular Dystrophy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section of Ophthalmology, Department of Head and Neck SurgeryThe University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA

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