BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuWaldenström macroglobulinemiaWaldenström macroglobulinemia; Macroglobulinemia - primary; Lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma; Monoclonal macroglobulinemiaWaldenström macroglobulinemia (WM) is a cancer of the B lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). WM is associated with the overproduction of proteins called IgM antibodies.AntibodiesAn antibody is a protein produced by the body's immune system when it detects harmful substances, called antigens. Examples of antigens include micr...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Causes WM is a result of a condition called lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma. This is a cancer of the white blood cells, in which the B immune cells start dividing rapidly. The exact cause of too much production of the IgM antibody is unknown. Hepatitis C may increase the risk of WM. Gene mutations are often found in the malignant B cells.Production of excess IgM antibodies can cause several types of problems:Hyperviscosity, which causes the blood to become too thick. This can make it harder for blood to flow through small blood vessels. Neuropathy, or nerve damage, when the IgM antibody reacts with nerve tissue. Anemia, when the IgM antibody binds to red blood cells. Kidney disease, when the IgM antibody deposits in kidney tissue. Cryoglobulinemia and vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels) when the IgM antibody forms immune complexes with cold exposure.CryoglobulinemiaCryoglobulinemia is the presence of abnormal proteins in the blood. These proteins thicken in cold temperatures.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article WM is very rare. Most people with this condition are over 65 years of age. Symptoms Symptoms of WM may include any of the following:Bleeding of the gums and nosebleeds Bleeding of the gumsBleeding gums can be a sign that you have or may develop gum disease. Ongoing gum bleeding may be due to plaque buildup on the teeth. It can also b...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Blurred or decreased vision Blurred or decreased visionThere are many types of eye problems and vision disturbances, such as: Halos Blurred vision (the loss of sharpness of vision and the inability to see...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Bluish skin in the fingers after cold exposure Bluish skinA bluish color to the skin or mucous membrane is usually due to a lack of oxygen in the blood. The medical term is cyanosis.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Dizziness or confusion DizzinessDizziness is a term that is often used to describe 2 different symptoms: lightheadedness and vertigo. Lightheadedness is a feeling that you might fai...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Easy bruising of the skin Fatigue Diarrhea Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in the hands, feet, fingers, toes, ears, or nose NumbnessNumbness and tingling are abnormal sensations that can occur anywhere in your body, but they are often felt in your fingers, hands, feet, arms, or le...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Rash RashRashes involve changes in the color, feeling or texture of your skin.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Swollen glands Swollen glandsLymph nodes are present throughout your body. They are an important part of your immune system. Lymph nodes help your body recognize and fight germ...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Unintentional weight loss Unintentional weight lossUnexplained weight loss is a decrease in body weight, when you did not try to lose the weight on your own. Many people gain and lose weight. Uninten...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Vision loss in one eye Vision lossThere are many types of eye problems and vision disturbances, such as: Halos Blurred vision (the loss of sharpness of vision and the inability to see...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Exams and Tests A physical examination may reveal a swollen spleen, liver, and lymph nodes. An eye exam may show enlarged veins in the retina or retinal bleeding (hemorrhages).Swollen spleenSplenomegaly is a larger-than-normal spleen. The spleen is an organ in the upper left part of the belly.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article A CBC shows a low number of red blood cells and platelets. Blood chemistry may show evidence of kidney disease.CBCA complete blood count (CBC) test measures the following:The number of red blood cells (RBC count)The number of white blood cells (WBC count)The tota...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Blood chemistryA comprehensive metabolic panel is a group of blood tests. They provide an overall picture of your body's chemical balance and metabolism. Metaboli...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article A test called serum protein electrophoresis shows an increased level of the IgM antibody. Levels are often higher than 300 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 3000 mg/L. An immunofixation test will be done to show that the IgM antibody is derived from a single cell type, (clonal).Serum protein electrophoresisThis lab test measures the types of protein in the fluid (serum) part of a blood sample. This fluid is called serum.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article A serum viscosity test can tell if the blood has become thick. Symptoms usually occur when the blood is four times thicker than normal.A bone marrow biopsy will show increased numbers of abnormal cells that look like both lymphocytes and plasma cells.Additional tests that may be done include:24-hour urine protein Urine proteinThe urine protein dipstick test measures the presence of all proteins, including albumin, in a urine sample. Albumin and protein can also be measured...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Total protein Total proteinThe total protein test measures the total amount of two classes of proteins found in the fluid portion of your blood. These are albumin and globulin...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Immunofixation in urine Immunofixation in urineUrine immunofixation is a test to look for abnormal proteins in urine.Read Article Now Book Mark Article T (thymus derived) lymphocyte count T (thymus derived) lymphocyte countA T-cell count measures the number of T cells in the blood. Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of a weak immune system, such as due t...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Bone x-rays Treatment Some people with WM who have increased IgM antibodies do not have symptoms. This condition is known as smoldering WM. No treatment is needed other than careful follow-up.In people with symptoms, treatment aims at decreasing the symptoms and the risk of developing organ damage. There is no current standard treatment. Your health care provider may suggest that you participate in a clinical trial.Plasmapheresis removes IgM antibodies from the blood. It also quickly controls the symptoms caused by blood thickening.Medicines may include corticosteroids, a combination of chemotherapy medicines and the monoclonal antibody to B cells, rituximab.Autologous stem cell transplant may be recommended for some people with otherwise good health.People who have a low number of red or white blood cells or platelets may need transfusions or antibiotics. Outlook (Prognosis) The average survival is about 5 years. Some people live more than 10 years.In some people, the disorder may produce few symptoms and progress slowly. Possible Complications Complications of WM may include:Changes in mental function, possibly leading to coma ComaDecreased alertness is the most severe state of reduced awareness and is a serious condition. A coma is a state of decreased alertness from which a p...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Heart failure Heart failureHeart failure is a condition in which the heart is no longer able to pump oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body efficiently. This causes symptom...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Gastrointestinal bleeding or malabsorption Vision problems Vision problemsThere are many types of eye problems and vision disturbances, such as: Halos Blurred vision (the loss of sharpness of vision and the inability to see...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article HivesHivesHives are raised, often itchy, red bumps (welts) on the surface of the skin. They can be an allergic reaction to food or medicine. They can also ap...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article When to Contact a Medical Professional Contact your provider if symptoms of WM develop.Open ReferencesReferencesKapoor P, Ansell SM, Fonseca R, et al. Diagnosis and management of Waldenström macroglobulinemia: Mayo stratification of macroglobulinemia and risk-adapted therapy (mSMART) guidelines 2016. JAMA Oncol. 2017;3(9):1257-1265. PMID: 28056114 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28056114/.Rajkumar SV. Plasma cell disorders. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 178.Treon SP, Castillo JJ, Hunter ZR, Merlini G. Waldenström macroglobulinemia/lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Silberstein LE, et al, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 87. AllVideoImagesTogWaldenstroms - illustration Lymphocytoid appearing plasma cell nucleus similar to a lymphocyte and cytoplasm similar to a plasma cell.WaldenstromsillustrationAntibodies - illustration Antigens are large molecules (usually proteins) on the surface of cells, viruses, fungi, bacteria, and some non-living substances such as toxins, chemicals, drugs, and foreign particles. The immune system recognizes antigens and produces antibodies that destroy substances containing antigens. AntibodiesillustrationWaldenstroms - illustration Lymphocytoid appearing plasma cell nucleus similar to a lymphocyte and cytoplasm similar to a plasma cell.WaldenstromsillustrationAntibodies - illustration Antigens are large molecules (usually proteins) on the surface of cells, viruses, fungi, bacteria, and some non-living substances such as toxins, chemicals, drugs, and foreign particles. The immune system recognizes antigens and produces antibodies that destroy substances containing antigens. Antibodiesillustration Tests for Waldenström macroglobulinemia Urine protein electrophoresis testImmunoelectrophoresis - bloodRelated Information Polycythemia - newborn(Condition)Vision problems(Symptoms)Decreased alertness(Symptoms)Heart failure(Condition)Heart failure(In-Depth) Review Date: 5/31/2020 Reviewed By: Diane M. Horowitz, MD, Rheumatology and Internal Medicine, Northwell Health, Great Neck, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. 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