Clinical Analysis of 12 Korean Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome (LEMS) Patients

Joon Shik Moon, Il Nam Sunwoo, Seung Min Kim, Sang Ahm Lee, Kwang Ho Cho, Kee Duk Park, Woo Kyung Kim, Byung Ok Choi, Hwa Young Chun

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The Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) heralds the occurrence of malignancy, especially small-cell lung cancer (SCLC), but it can also occur in the absence of cancer. Twelve patients were diagnosed as LEMS by clinical features and the classical electrophysiological triad, which includes a low amplitude of compound muscle action potentials (CMAP), decremental responses on low-rate stimulation, and incremental responses on high-rate stimulation on the repetitive nerve stimulation (UNS) test. There were 6 male and 6 female patients, ranging in age from 49 to 66 years. Malignancy(all were SCLC) was found in 7 patients. Males predominantly expressed the paraneoplastic form; whereas the primary autoimmune form was found only in women, who showed a good response to corticosteroid treatment. The neurological features were similar in both groups: proximal lower limb weakness, depressed muscle stretch reflexes, and dryness of mouth in nearly all patients. Bulbar dysfunction and limb paresthesia were a little more frequent in the paraneoplastic form. In RNS tests, the characteristic electrophysiological abnormalities were found in all patients and were more profound in the paraneoplastic form. We concluded that LEMS is commonly associated with malignancy, especially SCLC, but it should also be stressed that there are many female LEMS patients who do not harbor any malignancy at all, and that other treatment strategies such as immunotherapy should be considered for these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454-459
Number of pages6
JournalYonsei Medical Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1999


  • Autoimmune
  • Electrophysiological study
  • Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome
  • Malignancy
  • Paraneoplastic
  • Small cell lung cancer


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