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What Is Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia?

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Published on January 8, 2020

Key Takeaways

  • Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia (WM) is also known as lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma (LPL)
  • Waldenstrom is between a lymphoma and a myeloma
  • Waldenstrom is usually found in the bone marrow, and occasionally in the lymph nodes.

“You can think of it like a hybrid between a lymphoma and myeloma,” says Dr. Larry Anderson as he describes Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia, a rare cancer usually found in the bone marrow. Dr. Anderson, an expert from UT Southwestern Medical Center, joined Patient Power at the 2019 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting & Exposition to provide an easy-to-understand definition of this lesser-known disease. In this brief video, Dr. Anderson explains the biology of Waldenstrom, also known as lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma, and how it is both similar to and different from a lymphoma and myeloma. Watch now to learn more from a Waldenstrom expert.

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Transcript | What Is Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Theresa (Clementi) Doan:

Hi everyone.  I'm Theresa from Patient Power, and I'm here at ASH 2019 in Orlando.  With me is Dr. Larry Anderson from UT Southwestern.  Thanks for being with us today.  

Dr. Anderson:

Pleasure to be here.  Thank you for having me. 

Theresa (Clementi) Doan:

Thanks.  So can you give me a layman's definition of what Waldenstrom's disease is? 

Dr. Anderson:

Yes.  So Waldenstrom's macroglobulinenemia is the formal term.  The other name for it is lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma, which gets to the underlying biology a little bit more.  You can think of it like a hybrid between a lymphoma and myeloma in that it's a cell, derived from a cell in between a lymphocyte and a plasma cell.  So it's right in between, lymphoplasmacytic, and it produces—usually produces an immunoglobulin M, or IgM monoclonal protein that can be detected in the blood, whereas multiple myeloma usually has an IgG or an IgA and rarely has IgM.  If those lymphoplasmacytic cells produce IgM, that's Waldenstrom's, and it's largely found in the bone marrow.  Occasionally it can be found in lymph nodes that can be enlarged, but most patients, it's just in the bone marrow. 

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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