Paraneoplastic syndrome

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Paraneoplastic syndromes are a group of noncancerous diseases associated with internal neoplasia[1].

Paraneoplastic syndrome commonly presents as dermatological manifestations but can also be evident as hematological aberrations, hormonal changes, cardiac abnormalities (e.g. ventricular tachycardia[2] due to underlying neuroendocrine disease) or neuromuscular changes (e.g. paraneoplastic myasthenia gravis[3]).

A significant number of these conditions involve skin pathology, hematological changes (e.g. leukocytosis, hypoglycemia, hypoalbuminemia, regenerative anemia and hypercalcemia[4]) as well as general clinical signs of weight loss, diarrhea and anorexia.

A number of diseases can result in paraneoplastic syndrome, including:

Differentiating these paraneoplastic skin changes from other skin diseases can be challenging and often requires skin biopsies and blood tests to elucidate the underlying pathology[12].


  1. Turek MM (2003) Cutaneous paraneoplastic syndromes in dogs and cats: a review of the literature. Vet Dermatol 14(6):279-296
  2. Tappin S et al (2008) An intestinal neuroendocrine tumour associated with paroxysmal ventricular tachycardia and melaena in a 10-year-old boxer. J Small Anim Pract 49(1):33-37
  3. Stepaniuk K et al (2011) Acquired myasthenia gravis associated with oral sarcoma in a dog. J Vet Dent 28(4):242-249
  4. Bergman PJ (2012) Paraneoplastic hypercalcemia. Top Companion Anim Med 27(4):156-158
  5. Oberkirchner U et al (2010) Successful treatment of canine necrolytic migratory erythema (superficial necrolytic dermatitis) due to metastatic glucagonoma with octreotide. Vet Dermatol 21(5):510-516
  6. Nishifuji K et al (2009) Development of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for detection of circulating IgG autoantibodies against canine desmoglein 3 in dogs with pemphigus. Vet Dermatol 20(5-6):331-337
  7. Soare T et al (2012) Paraneoplastic syndrome in haemophagocytic histiocytic sarcoma in a dog. J Comp Pathol 146(2-3):168-174
  8. Petterino C et al (2011) Paraneoplastic leukocytosis in a dog with a renal carcinoma. Vet Clin Pathol 40(1):89-94
  9. Rossi G et al (2011) Paraneoplastic hypoglycemia in a diabetic dog with an insulin growth factor-2-producing mammary carcinoma. Vet Clin Pathol 39(4):480-484
  10. Batlivala TP et al (2010) Paraneoplastic T cell lymphocytosis associated with a thymoma in a dog. J Small Anim Pract 51(9):491-494
  11. Marchetti V et al (2005) Paraneoplastic hypereosinophilia in a dog with intestinal T-cell lymphoma. Vet Clin Pathol 34(3):259-263
  12. Outerbridge CA et al' (2013) Cutaneous manifestations of internal diseases. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 43(1):135-152