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Heterogeneous spectrum of neuropathies in Waldenström's macroglobulinemia: a diagnostic strategy to optimize their management

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Neuropathy in Waldenström's macroglobulinemia (WM) is very heterogeneous. We retrospectively studied 40 patients with WM and neuropathy to analyze the different presentations and mechanisms encountered and to propose a diagnostic strategy. Twenty‐five patients (62.5%) had axonal neuropathy, related to the following mechanisms: amyloid neuropathy (n = 5), cryoglobulinemic neuropathy (n = 5), neuropathy associated with tumoral infiltration (n = 2), vasculitic neuropathy (n = 2), a clinical motor neuropathy possibly of dysimmune origin (n = 6), or an unclassified mechanism (n = 5). A demyelinating pattern was observed in 15 patients, 10 having anti‐myelin‐associated glycoprotein (anti‐MAG) antibodies and 5 having neuropathy related to chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy. On the basis of these results, we propose a diagnostic strategy combining: (1) an EMG to distinguish between a demyelinating and an axonal pattern; (2) measurement of anti‐MAG and anti‐ganglioside antibodies; (3) screening for “red flag” features to orientate further investigations. This strategy may help clinicians to identify the mechanism of neuropathy in order to adapt the therapeutic strategy.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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