Effects of lymphoma on the peripheral nervous system.

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Effects of lymphoma on the peripheral nervous system.

Publication Date
Sep 01, 1994
  • Medicine


Peripheral nervous system abnormalities occur in 5% of patients with lymphoma and have a wide differential diagnosis. Herpes zoster is the commonest cause. Vinca alkaloids are the only drugs used in lymphoma which commonly cause neuropathy. Compression or infiltration of nerve roots by lymphoma is a rare presenting feature but becomes more common with advanced disease. Radiation plexopathy does not usually develop until at least 6 months after irradiation and can be difficult to distinguish from neoplastic infiltration. Either multifocal infiltration of nerves or lymphoma-associated vasculitis may present as a peripheral neuropathy. The incidence of Guillain-Barré (GBS) syndrome, and possibly chronic idiopathic demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy, appears to be increased in association with lymphoma, especially Hodgkin's disease. Subacute sensory neuronopathy and subacute lower motor neuronopathy have both been reported as paraneoplastic syndromes associated with Hodgkin's disease. Treatment of the underlying lymphoma is only rarely followed by recovery of the associated neuropathy.

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