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Malignancy-associated gastroparesis: an important and overlooked cause of chronic nausea and vomiting


A 69-year-old woman was referred to a gastroenterology clinic with a 1-year history of protracted nausea and postprandial vomiting. She had a background of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, irritable bowel syndrome and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with a significant smoking history. Her laboratory work-up including autoimmune screen, coeliac serology and synacthen test were unremarkable. Upper gastrointestinalendoscopy and CT imaging ruled out mucosal and obstructive causes. Gastric emptying studies demonstrated a delayed gastric emptying consistent with diagnosis of gastroparesis. Concurrently, she underwent a CT of the thorax for unresolved consolidation on her chest X-ray. This revealed a locally advanced primary lung carcinoma. In this context, with all other causes excluded, her gastroparesis was deemed to represent a paraneoplastic phenomenon. Gastroparesis is a frequent, under-recognised and important complication of cancer.

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