Waldenström Macroglobulinemia

Waldenström Macroglobulinemia (WM) is also known as lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma. It is a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).  Waldenström Macroglobulinemia occurs in less than 2 percent of patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).[1]

Waldenström Macroglobulinemia is a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system. It occurs in the B cells (white blood cells) and affects the ability for them to mature into a plasma cells. Plasma cells manufacture antibodies that help fight infection.

B cells usually mature into plasma cells but for someone with Waldenström Macroglobulinemia the cells make the same antibody (protein). This protein is called a monoclonal protein, M protein. In Waldenström Macroglobulinemia patients an excessive amount of the M protein is found in the bone marrow or in other organs like the liver and spleen. An excessive amount of M protein in your bone marrow can overpower the normal cells or it can cause the organs in your body to swell. [2]

Signs and Symptoms of Waldenström Macroglobulinemia

Too much of the M protein can lead to the following symptoms in Waldenström Macroglobulinemia patients:

  • Excess bleeding
  • Dizziness
  • Problems with vision
  • Nervous system problems
  • Tired, weak
  • Increased size of the liver, spleen and lymph nodes

Some patients with Waldenström Macroglobulinemia experience no symptoms.

Waldenström Macroglobulinemia Treatment

Current treatments for Waldenström Macroglobulinemia include rituximab, bendamustine, bortezomib, chlorambucil, cladribine, fludarabine and ibrutinib for refractory WM. There are clinical research trials underway for the following drugs, bortezomib, lenalidomide, everolimus, enzastaurin and panobinostat.


[1] http://www.lymphoma.org/site/pp.asp?c=bkLTKaOQLmK8E&b=6300163

[2] http://www.cancer.org/cancer/waldenstrom-macroglobulinemia/about/what-is-wm.html

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