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Cerebellar syndrome and myoclonus in a patient with adenocarcinoma of the colon
INTRODUCTION. Neurological paraneoplastic syndromes (NPS) are usually found in association with bronchogenic and gynecological tumors. Any part of the central or peripheral nervous system may be involved, and the clinical presentation may therefore take any of a large number of forms. Intestinal tumors rarely lead to NPS. We present the case of a patient with adenocarcinoma of the colon, in whom the first clinical sign was NPS. CLINICAL CASE. A 72 year old man presented with subacute onset of generalized myoclonus, predominantly of action, ataxia on walking and changes in speech associated with a constitutional syndrome. There were no ocular changes. Laboratory investigations including immunology, serology and tumour markers were normal. Anti-Hu, Yo and Ri antibodies were negative. Study of the CSF showed the blood-brain barrier to be damaged. Cranial MR, EEG, thoraco-abdominal CT and osseous gammagraphy showed no significant changes. On colonoscopy there was a tumour in the medial zone of the transverse colon (an adenocarcinoma). Treatment was started with high dose steroids and the condition progressively improved. After right hemicolectomy steroid treatment was stopped, and there was complete recovery of the condition.