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Occult bowel cancer presenting as Morvan syndrome
  1. Shyama Alagoda1,
  2. Sunil Wimalaratna2 and
  3. Tharuka Milinda Herath2
  1. 1Clinical Neurophyisology, Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, Taunton, UK
  2. 2Neurology, Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Kettering, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Tharuka Milinda Herath; tharukaherath11{at}


A man in his mid-60s presented with a 3-month history of progressive muscle twitching, agitation, cognitive impairment, insomnia, hyperhidrosis and lower limb pain. He had fasciculations, myokymia, myoclonus, exaggerated startle response and significant postural hypotension. Electrophysiological studies showed evidence of peripheral nerve hyperexcitability with neuromyotonia. Contactin-associated protein-like 2 antibodies (CASPR2) were strongly positive. A diagnosis of Morvan syndrome was made. CT of the chest, abdomen and pelvis was undertaken to identify any occult malignancy, and a large bowel carcinoma in situ was identified and resected. His central nervous system and autonomic symptoms significantly improved following surgery, but neuromyotonia persisted, and this was treated with intravenous immunoglobulins and steroids. Early detection of bowel cancer in this patient enabled curative treatment.

  • Clinical neurophysiology
  • Neuromuscular disease

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  • Contributors The following authors were responsible for drafting of the text, sourcing and editing of clinical images, investigation results, drawing original diagrams and algorithms, and critical revision for important intellectual content: SA, SW and TMH. The following authors gave final approval of the manuscript: SA, SW and TMH.

  • 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.

  • Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.

  • Competing interests None declared.

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