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Dermatomyositis as a paraneoplastic phenomenon in oesophageal cancer
  1. Nicholas Kevin Laidler
  1. Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Nedlands, Western Australia, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nicholas Kevin Laidler, nicklaidler{at}


Dermatomyositis is a multisystem disease manifesting as an idiopathic inflammatory myopathy, characterised predominantly by cutaneous and muscular abnormalities. Patients with dermatomyositis display characteristic skin changes in addition to muscle weakness. Many consider dermatomyositis a paraneoplastic syndrome, as up to 32% of patients with dermatomyositis will develop cancer. Discussed here is the case of a 69-year-old man with a new diagnosis of dermatomyositis who was referred to a tertiary institution with an 8-month history of rash, proximal muscle weakness, fatigue and weight loss. In the absence of clinical symptoms, negative cancer markers and a negative CT chest, abdomen and pelvis, positron emission tomography–CT prompted a gastroscopy, which led to the discovery of a stage T1b oesophageal adenocarcinoma. The oesophageal adenocarcinoma was treated with a gastrointestinal endoscopic mucosal resection and subsequent oesophajectomy. The patient’s dermatomyositis was treated successfully with oral prednisolone and methotrexate.

  • dermatology
  • immunology
  • rheumatology
  • oesophageal cancer
  • radiology

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  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Contributors Responsible for identification of case, drafting of the article, planning , conduct, reporting, and conception and design: NKL.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.