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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia, Version 1.2017


Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia

Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia

Guide 1. Risk factors for WM

Risk factors

• Age- 50 years old or older

• Gender- being male

• Race and ethnicity- more common in white

people, and seen in those of Ashkenazi decent

• Family history- family members have WM or other


• History of disease-

◦◦ MGUS (Monoclonal gammopathy of

undetermined significance) is when IgM is

found in the blood at above normal levels. The

level does not go too high or cause symptoms.


Other risk factors for WM are not known at this


Risk factors

WM is a slow-growing type of B-cell NHL. About

1500-2000 people are diagnosed with WM per

year. It is considered to be a rare type of cancer.

Certain risk factors can be seen with WM. Anything

that increases your chances of WM is called a risk

factor. Risk factors can be activities that people do,

things in the environment, or traits passed down from

parents to children through genes. Genes are coded

instructions for your cells.

See Guide 1.

Guide 2. Symptoms of WM


• Hyperviscosity and its effects

• Low number of red blood cells

• Enlarged lymph nodes (adenopathy)

• Enlarged organs (organomegaly)

• Nerve problem that causes pain, tingling, and

numbness (neuropathy)

• IgM buildup in organs like the heart or kidney

(amyloidosis) causing problems

• IgM buildup in places exposed to the cold


◦◦ For example, your nose, ears, fingers, or toes

turn blue or black and can hurt

• IgM breaks down the red blood cells at low

temperatures (cold agglutinin disease)

◦◦ This is a form of hemolytic anemia (red blood

cells break down quickly)


A main characteristic of WM is having IgM in the

blood. It can be at high levels and this can cause

symptoms. The blood becomes thick from IgM.

The IgM is a big molecule and can’t leave the

bloodstream. This is called hyperviscosity. When the

blood is too thick, it can’t flow right. Hyperviscosity

can happen and cause symptoms like weakness,

changes with eye sight, headache, stroke-like

symptoms, and unexplained bleeding.

See Guide 2.