The term "paraneoplastic" was originally applied to any disorder associated with neoplasia but not caused by direct tumor invasion or metastasis. In current usage, neurologic paraneoplastic disorders refer to nonmetastatic disorders that are not attributable to toxicity of cancer therapy, cerebrovascular disease, coagulopathy, infection, or toxic and metabolic causes.
Classic publications in the 1950s and 1960s delineated the clinical and pathologic features of several neurologic paraneoplastic syndromes (Eaton and Lambert 1957; Brain and Wilkinson 1965; Henson et al 1965; Corsellis et al 1968). Paraneoplastic disorders are far less common than nervous system metastases and are relatively rare compared to other nonmetastatic neurologic complications of systemic cancer, but they are worthy of consideration for several reasons:
A consortium of European centers published a set of criteria for diagnosing "definite" or "possible" paraneoplastic neurologic disorders based on the clinical syndrome, presence of onconeural antibodies, and tumor association (Graus et al 2004).