Thymoma-associated neuromyotonia with antibodies against voltage-gated potassium channels presenting as chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction.
Viallard J-F., Vincent A., Moreau J-F., Parrens M., Pellegrin J-L., Ellie E.
Chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction can occur as a paraneoplastic disorder, and several cases have been reported in association with thymoma or small-cell lung cancer. Autoantibodies against voltage-gated potassium channels (VGKCs) are found in acquired neuromyotonia (Isaac's syndrome), and have been reported in one case of slow transit constipation without apparent neurological disease. We describe a patient with VGKC antibodies, acquired neuromyotonia and thymoma, who first presented with a severe slow-transit constipation and in whom the gastrointestinal symptoms responded well to plasmapheresis. We suggest that VGKC antibodies might be helpful in patients with possible paraneoplastic chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction, and a positive result should stimulate the search for a thymoma or other tumour and raise the possibility of immunotherapy.