The natural history of asymptomatic IgM monoclonal gammopathies (MG) and variables predicting evolution to symptomatic lymphoproliferative disorders were investigated in 452 patients diagnosed from 1975 to 2001. Univariate and multivariate Cox models were used to identify possible predictors of disease progression. At a median follow-up of 49 months (range, 12 to 233), 41 cases (9.1%) evolved to symptomatic Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia (n = 36), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (n = 2), B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (n = 1), IgM multiple myeloma (n = 1), and primary amyloidosis (n = 1); the median interval from diagnosis was 53 months (range, 12 to 154). The cumulative probabilities of transformation into a symptomatic lymphoproliferative disease at 5 and 10 years were 8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 6% to 12%) and 21% (95% CI, 16% to 29%), respectively. At univariate analysis, monoclonal component size and hemoglobin level as continuous parameters, lymphocytosis (>4 × 109/L), bone marrow lymphoplasmacytoid infiltration (>10%), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (>40 mm/h), and detectable Bence Jones proteinuria were significantly related with evolution probability. At multivariate analysis, paraprotein level (P <.0001), hemoglobin level (P <.05), and lymphocytosis (P <.0001) independently predicted malignant evolution (P <.0001). In conclusion, patients with asymptomatic IgM-MG showing hematological features predictive of progression should be carefully monitored in view of an early treatment of the disease.
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