Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Macroglobulinemia Overview

Another name for Macroglobulinemia is Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia.

What is Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia?
A person with Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia has abnormal white blood cells that multiply out of control. The white blood cells produce IgM antibodies, which usually help fight infection. The cancerous cells produce too many IgM antibodies, which causes the blood to become too thick. The cause for Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia is unknown, but genetics may play a role. About 1 out of 200,000 people in the US develops Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia each year. The average age for Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia is 65 years.

What are the symptoms of Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia?
The most common symptoms of Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia include loss of appetite, weakness or fatigue, and unintentional weight loss. Additional symptoms may include headache, numbness, nosebleeds, easy bruising, and fever.

How does the doctor treat Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia?
Treatment for Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia includes medications and plasmapheresis, which removes antibodies from the bloodstream.

Continue to Macroglobulinemia Incidence

Last Updated: Jun 7, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Macroglobulinemia References
  1. Bjorkholm M, Johansson E, Papamichael D, Celsing F, Matthews J, Lister TA, Rohatiner AZ. Patterns of clinical presentation, treatment, and outcome in patients with Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia: a two-institution study. Semin Oncol. 2003 Apr;30(2):226-30. [12720141]
  2. Chen CI. Treatment for Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia. Ann Oncol. 2004 Apr;15(4):550-8. [15033658]
  3. Dimopoulos MA, Anagnostopoulos A. Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia. Best Pract Res Clin Haematol. 2005;18(4):747-65. [16026748]
  4. Dimopoulos MA, Kyle RA, Anagnostopoulos A, Treon SP. Diagnosis and management of Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia. J Clin Oncol. 2005 Mar 1;23(7):1564-77. [15735132]
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