Paraneoplastic epilepsy

Anna Serafini, Rimas V. Lukas, Stephen VanHaerents, Peter Warnke, James X. Tao, Sandra Rose, Shasha Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Epilepsy can be a manifestation of paraneoplastic syndromes which are the consequence of an immune reaction to neuronal elements driven by an underlying malignancy affecting other organs and tissues. The antibodies commonly found in paraneoplastic encephalitis can be divided into two main groups depending on the target antigen: 1) antibodies against neuronal cell surface antigens, such as against neurotransmitter (N-methyl-. d-aspartate (NMDA), alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA), gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)) receptors, ion channels (voltage-gated potassium channel (VGKC)), and channel-complex proteins (leucine rich, glioma inactivated-1 glycoprotein (LGI1) and contactin-associated protein-2 (CASPR2)) and 2) antibodies against intracellular neuronal antigens (Hu/antineuronal nuclear antibody-1 (ANNA-1), Ma2/Ta, glutamate decarboxylase 65 (GAD65), less frequently to CV2/collapsin response mediator protein 5 (CRMP5)). In this review, we provide a comprehensive survey of the current literature on paraneoplastic epilepsy indexed by the associated onconeuronal antibodies. While a range of seizure types can be seen with paraneoplastic syndromes, temporal lobe epilepsy is the most common because of the association with limbic encephalitis. Early treatment of the paraneoplastic syndrome with immune modulation/suppression may prevent the more serious potential consequences of paraneoplastic epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-58
Number of pages8
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Autoimmune epilepsy
  • Medically intractable epilepsy
  • Onconeuronal antibody
  • Paraneoplastic encephalitis
  • Paraneoplastic neurological syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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