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Subacute sensory neuronopathy and cancer: the identification of paraneoplastic syndromes
  1. Matthew C Kiernan1,2,
  2. David R Cornblath3
  1. 1 Bushell Chair of Neurology, Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2 Neurology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3 Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  1. Correspondence to Professor Matthew C Kiernan, Bushell Chair of Neurology, Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia; matthew.kiernan{at}

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In this landmark paper, Denny-Brown published cases of severe sensory ataxia found at autopsy to have sensory ganglionopathy in association with bronchogenic carcinoma

Primary sensory neuropathy with muscular changes associated with carcinoma

Authors: Denny-Brown D

Year published: 1948

Number of times cited: 475

The concept of paraneoplastic disorders is relatively recent in the clinical neurosciences, and one that remains incompletely understood to this day, particularly in terms of therapy. By means of definition, paraneoplastic disorders have tended to encompass all remote effects of cancer, not attributable to metastases, treatment or the presence of coexistent illness.1 In terms of disease pathophysiology, the cause of paraneoplastic disorders has been linked to a form of immunological cross-reactivity between tumour antigens and neuronal tissue, thereby triggering an immune-based attack on the nervous system.

Early concepts of paraneoplastic phenomenon slowly emerged through the study of neuropathy. Until 60 years ago, the literature on neuropathy itself was relatively sparse. Most neuropathies were described as sensory and motor, starting distally with proximal …

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