Macroglobulinemia of Waldenstrom

Alternative Names

Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia; Macroglobulinemia – primary; Lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma

Definition of Macroglobulinemia of Waldenstrom

Macroglobulinemia of Waldenstrom is a cancer of the B lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). It is associated with the overproduction of proteins called IgM antibodies.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia is a result of a condition called lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma. The cause of the overproduction of the IgM antibody is unknown, but researchers believe it is made by lymphoma cells.

Signs and tests

A physical examination may reveal a , liver, and lymph nodes. An eye exam may show enlarged veins in the retina or retinal bleeding (hemorrhages).

Treatment

Plasmapheresis removes unwanted substances from the blood. In macroglobulinemia, it removes or reduces the high level of IgM, and is used to quickly control the symptoms caused by blood thickening.

Expectations (prognosis)

The average survival is about 6.5 years. Some people live more than 10 years.

Review

Todd Gersten, M.D., Hematology/Oncology, Palm Beach Cancer Institute, West Palm Beach, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 4/30/2010

Waldenstroms
Antibodies

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