Anti-Yo antibody–mediated paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration associated with cognitive affective syndrome in a patient with breast cancer: a case report and literature review

M. Le May, S. Dent


Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, with 15%–25% of those tumours overexpressing the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (her2), which is associated with more aggressive disease. On rare occasions, patients present with a paraneoplastic syndrome months to years before their cancer diagnosis. Paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration (pcd) is associated with fewer than 1% of cancers and is strongly associated with breast and gynecologic malignancies. Anti-Yo antibody is the antibody most frequently identified with the syndrome, and it is associated with a very poor prognosis. Recent studies have implicated a relationship between overexpression of her2 and anti-Yo–mediated pcd. Current pcd treatments include tumour removal, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immune-suppressive treatments. Outcomes of pcd are typically poor, and no guidelines for treatment currently exist. Early recognition followed by rapid initiation of treatment remains the cornerstone of therapy.

Here, we present a case of anti-Yo-antibody pcd secondary to estrogen and progesterone receptor–negative, her2-positive breast cancer. Despite treatment with mastectomy, chemotherapy, and her2-targeted therapy, no significant neurologic improvement was achieved, and cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome subsequently developed.


Paraneoplastic syndrome; her2; anti-Yo antibody; breast cancer; cerebellar degeneration; cognitive affective syndrome

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ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)