Article Text

Paraneoplastic neuropsychiatric syndrome presenting as delirium


Delirium in patients with cancer is associated with poor outcomes, but reversible causes need to be ruled out. We report the case of a 59-year-old woman who was presented with behavioural and cognitive changes over 2 weeks. She was non-verbal and combative, requiring involuntary admission and declaration of incompetence to make healthcare treatment decisions. Infectious and metabolic investigations and initial brain imaging were unremarkable. She was diagnosed with limited-stage small cell lung cancer and a paraneoplastic neuropsychiatric syndrome. Owing to the patient's delirium, chemotherapy delivery required pharmacological and physical restraints. After 2 cycles of chemotherapy, she could participate in the decision process and was discharged home. She completed radical chemo-radiotherapy and has remained free of disease progression for 18 months. Paraneoplastic neuropsychiatric syndromes, although rare, are potentially treatable and need to be excluded as a cause of delirium.

  • case report
  • small cell lung cancer
  • Paraneoplastic syndrome

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.