What is the significance of onconeural antibodies for psychiatric symptomatology? A systematic review

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Background: Patients with intracellular onconeural antibodies may present with neuro-psychiatric syndromes. We aimed to evaluate the evidence for an association between well-characterized onconeural antibodies and psychiatric symptoms in patients with and without paraneoplastic central nervous system syndromes. Methods: Eligible studies were selected from 1980 until February 2017 according to standardized review criteria and evaluated using Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies-2 (QUADAS-2). We included studies describing the psychiatric symptomatology of onconeural antibody positive patients and the prevalence of onconeural antibodies in patients with psychiatric disorders. Results: Twenty-seven studies met the inclusion criteria. Six studies reported on the prevalence of well-characterized onconeural antibodies in patients with different psychiatric disorders, ranging from 0% to 4.9%. Antibody prevalence in controls was available from three studies, ranging from 0% to 2.8%. Data heterogeneity precluded a meta-analysis. Two cerebrospinal fluid studies found well-characterized onconeural antibodies in 3.5% and 0% of patients with psychotic and depressive syndromes, respectively. Conclusions: The available evidence suggests that the prevalence of well-characterized onconeural antibodies in patients with psychiatric disorders is generally low. However, the question whether onconeural antibodies are important in select patients with a purely psychiatric phenotype needs to be addressed by appropriately designed studies in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number161
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2017

    Research areas

  • Anti-neuronal antibodies, Onconeural antibodies, Paraneoplastic neuro-psychiatric syndromes, Review

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ID: 190434789