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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 34

of 'Epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of Waldenström macroglobulinemia'

Waldenström's macroglobulinemia: clinical features, complications, and management.
Dimopoulos MA, Panayiotidis P, Moulopoulos LA, Sfikakis P, Dalakas M
J Clin Oncol. 2000;18(1):214.
PURPOSE: To review the clinical features, complications, and treatment of Waldenström's macroglobulinemia, a low-grade lymphoproliferative disorder that produces monoclonal immunoglobulin (Ig) M.
METHODS: A review of published reports was facilitated by the use of a MEDLINE computer search and by manual search of the Index Medicus.
RESULTS: The clinical manifestations associated with Waldenström's macroglobulinemia can be classified according to those related to direct tumor infiltration, to the amount and specific properties of circulating IgM, and to the deposition of IgM in various tissues. Asymptomatic patients should be followed without treatment. For symptomatic patients, standard treatment consists primarily of oral chlorambucil; nucleoside analogs, such as fludarabine and cladribine, are effective in one third of previously treated patients and in up to 80% of previously untreated patients. Preliminary evidence suggests that anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody may be active in about 30% of previously treated patients and that high-dose therapy with autologous stem-cell rescue is effective in most patients, including some with resistance to nucleoside analogs.
CONCLUSION: Waldenström's macroglobulinemia has a wide clinical spectrum that practicing physicians need to recognize early to reach the correct diagnosis. When therapy is indicated, oral chlorambucil is the standard primary treatment, but cladribine or fludarabine can be used when a rapid cytoreduction is desirable. Prospective randomized trials are required to elucidate the impact of nucleoside analogs on patients' survival. A nucleoside analog is the treatment of choice for patients who have been previously treated with an alkylating agent.
Department of Clinical Therapeutics, University of Athens School of Medicine, Athens, Greece. mdipom@cc.uoa.gr