Peripheral neuropathy (PN) is a frequent complication during primary macroglobulinemia (PM), whose immunological genesis has been suggested by various authors. This study involved 65 PM patients (44 men and 21 women aged 35-78), diagnostically divided into MGUS (31 cases), and indolent (IWM, 24 cases) or symptomatic (WM, 10 cases) Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia groups. All patients underwent neurological examination, including electrodiagnostic evaluation and the determination of the serum titre of antimyelin-associated glycoprotein (MAG). An evaluation was made of the prevalence of PN and its correlation with a series of hematological variables. The prevalence of PN was 31.6%: of those with PN, 73.1% manifested both clinical and electrophysiological signs of PN, primarily of the demyelinating type. Significant correlations emerged between the presence of PN and sex (M vs. F P = 0.0001), advanced age (P = 0.049), low MC levels (P = 0.025), high anti-MAG titres (P = 0.001) and high Hb levels (P = 0.001). No significant correlation with the diagnostic definition of PM was found, although the majority of cases with (particularly demyelinating) PN were MGUS or IWM. At multivariate analysis, the presence of PN significantly correlated with sex (P = 0.0001), age (P = 0.019), and anti-MAG titre (P = 0.001). Ten of the 26 PN cases showed no MAG reactivity. Significant correlations between PN and low serum MC levels/high MAG reactivity support the hypothesis of the antibody-mediated origin of many PN, and that the presence of PN depends on the characteristics of the proliferating pathological B clone, rather than on the tumor burden of the form of macroglobulinemia. Clinically, our data reconfirm the frequency of PN during PM and indicate simple clinicohematological variables useful for identifying patients at high neuropathic risk.
- monoclonal gammopathies of undetermined significance
- peripheral neuropathy
- Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia
ASJC Scopus subject areas