Waldenström macroglobulinemia: 2021 update on diagnosis, risk stratification, and management

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Disease Overview: Waldenström macroglobulinemia (WM) is a lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma with immunoglobulin M (IgM) monoclonal protein. Clinical features include anemia, thrombocytopenia, hepatosplenomegaly, lymphadenopathy, and rarely hyperviscosity. Diagnosis: Presence of IgM monoclonal protein associated with ≥10% clonal lymphoplasmacytic cells in bone marrow confirms the diagnosis. The L265P mutation in MYD88 is detectable in more than 90% of patients and is found in the majority of IgM MGUS patients. Risk Stratification: Age, hemoglobin level, platelet count, β2 microglobulin, LDH and monoclonal IgM concentrations are characteristics that are predictive of outcomes. Risk-Adapted Therapy: Not all patients who fulfill WM criteria require therapy; these patients can be observed until symptoms develop. Rituximab-monotherapy is inferior to regimens that combine it with bendamustine, an alkylating agent, a proteosome inhibitor, or ibrutinib. Purine nucleoside analogues are active but usage is declining in favor of less toxic alternatives. The preferred Mayo Clinic induction is rituximab and bendamustine. Management of Refractory Disease: Bortezomib, fludarabine, thalidomide, everolimus, Bruton Tyrosine Kinase inhibitors, carfilzomib, lenalidomide, and bendamustine have all been shown to have activity in relapsed WM. Given WM's natural history, reduction of therapy toxicity is an important part of treatment selection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-269
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican journal of hematology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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