- Paraneoplastic myelitis with encephalomyelitis – Typical in patients with SCLC. Patients develop sensory neuronopathy with sensory loss that may involve the proximal areas such as the neck and trunk. Motor deficits may also occur.
- Limbic encephalitis – Patients present with acute or subacute mood and behavioral changes, short-term memory difficulties, cognitive dysfunction, and complex partial seizures with symptoms developing over days to weeks. Other common symptoms include hyperthermia, somnolence, and endocrine abnormalities associated with hypothalamic dysfunction. Two-thirds of patients will also have encephalomyelitis. Commonly associated cancers include SCLC, seminoma or other testicular tumors, breast cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma, and thymoma. Neurologic symptoms typically precede a cancer diagnosis by weeks to months.
- Brain stem encephalitis – Patients present with a wide spectrum of symptoms including opsoclonus, nystagmus, dysphagia, dysarthria, trigeminal sensory loss, sensorineural deafness, central hypoventilation, vertigo, and supranuclear, internuclear, and nuclear extraocular movement deficits. Malignant associations include SCLC, testicular tumors, breast cancer, hypernephroma, and prostate adenocarcinoma.
G04.81 – Other encephalitis and encephalomyelitis
424761009 – Paraneoplastic encephalomyelitis
Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls
- Bacterial meningitis
- Viral meningitis / encephalitis (eg, herpes simplex virus encephalitis, West Nile encephalitis)
- Fungal meningitis
- Carcinomatous meningitis
- Brain tumor or brain metastases
- Multiple sclerosis
- Acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis
- Cerebral vasculitis
- Primary psychiatric disorder
- Hashimoto thyroiditis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Whipple disease
- Central pontine myelinolysis
- Complex partial seizures
- Frontotemporal dementia
- Stiff person syndrome