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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2012 Apr;51(4):627-33. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/ker407. Epub 2011 Dec 30.

Cryoglobulinaemia related to Sjogren's syndrome or HCV infection: differences based on the pattern of bone marrow involvement, lymphoma evolution and laboratory tests after parotidectomy.

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  • 1Rheumatology Clinic, Department of Medical and Biological Sciences, University Hospital 'S. Maria della Misericordia', Piazzale Santa Maria Misericordia 1, 33100 Udine, Italy.



The relationship of cryoglobulinaemia with lymphoproliferation of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) as risk factors for lymphoma evolution in SS remains to be clarified. The different biologic background of SS-related cryoglobulinaemia as compared with cryoglobulinaemia linked to HCV infection was clarified by different clinical and biologic approaches.


B-cell clonal expansion was analysed in the bone marrow of 27 consecutive cases with primary SS and mixed cryoglobulinaemia, HCV unrelated, in comparison with 55 HCV-related patients with cryoglobulinaemic vasculitis (CV) without SS. The results were related to the possible occurrence and localization of B-cell lymphoma in the single case. Secondly, the prevalence of mixed cryoglobulinaemia was investigated in 41 unselected patients with primary SS showing either parotid myoepithelial sialadenitis (MESA) or a frank B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Thirdly, the levels of serum cryoglobulins and RF were followed in one patient with primary SS, CV and parotid B-cell lymphoma of MALT after bilateral subtotal parotidectomy.


A polyclonal pattern of B expansion in the bone marrow was significantly more frequent in SS-related (19/27 cases) than in HCV-related cryoglobulinaemia (19/55) (Pā€‰=ā€‰0.003). Cryoglobulins were positive in a fraction of patients with SS and malignant lymphoma or with parotid MESA (13/18 and 7/23, respectively), whereas MALT involvement by the lymphoproliferative disorder was the rule. Finally, the levels of serum cryoglobulins and RF markedly decreased in the SS patient undergoing bilateral subtotal parotidectomy.


Lymphoproliferation of MALT appears as the biologic background of cryoglobulinaemia in SS, differently from HCV-related cryoglobulinaemia.

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