Autoimmune basis for visual paraneoplastic syndrome in patients with small cell lung carcinoma. Retinal immune deposits and ablation of retinal ganglion cells

Gerald B. Grunwald, Steven E. Kornguth, Javad Towfighi, Joseph Sassani, Mary A. Simmonds, Cathy M. Housman, Nicholas Papadopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

60 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recently, patients with visual paraneoplastic syndrome (VPS) were described, a binocular loss of vision found in patients with small cell carcinoma of the lung (SCCL). The patients have serum antibodies against a small number of discrete antigens which are shared by the retina and small cell carcinoma cells, and which are associated with cells and processes of the ganglion cell layer of the retina. Pathologic findings are presented with regard to the presence of immunoglobulins in, and the nature of the lesions in, the central nervous system of a VPS patient. The patient's blood‐brain barrier was shown to be compromised, as demonstrated by the finding of high immunoglobulin levels in the cerebrospinal fluid and immune deposits in the retina. It is further shown that within the central nervous system only the retina and optic nerve show any tissue damage with the specific loss of retinal ganglion cells and their processes. The findings support the hypothesis of an autoimmune cause for this remote effect of cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)780-786
Number of pages7
JournalCancer
Volume60
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 15 1987

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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