Angiogenesis has been associated with disease progression and poor prognosis in several hematologic malignancies including multiple myeloma. In this article, we summarize the rationale for studying angiogenesis in plasma cell disorders including Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia (WM). We also discuss the results of a study of angiogenesis in WM conducted at the Mayo Clinic. Our study shows that only 30% of patients with WM had increased (intermediate- or high-grade) angiogenesis. A weak correlation was found between mean microvessel density (MVD) and marrow infiltration. Unlike multiple myeloma, MVD and angiogenesis grade were not predictive factors for survival. Although these findings suggest that angiogenesis may not be a major factor in WM, it does not exclude a paracrine role for angiogenic cytokines or the study of antiangiogenic agents in this disease.
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