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Clin Lymphoma Myeloma. 2009 Mar;9(1):27-9. doi: 10.3816/CLM.2009.n.005.

Familial predisposition to monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance, Waldenström's macroglobulinemia, and multiple myeloma.

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Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland.


The medical literature contains reports of around 130 families with two or more cases of MM, MGUS, or WM. An Icelandic family with multiple cases of MGUS, WM, and lymphoma was first described in 1978. In vitro testing of peripheral blood lymphocytes revealed increased production of immunoglobulins in response to poke-weed mitogen in 10 out of 35 family members, referred to as hyperresponders (HR). Enhanced B-cell survival after stimulation was associated with prolonged expression of Bcl-2. A population-based cancer registry study of 218 MM patients identified 7 additional families. Nine new cases of monoclonal gammopathy were detected by the screening of 350 family members. Further testing confirmed previously identified HR in the originally described family as well as detecting new cases. Only two HR were found in the recently identified families. The long-term aim is to identify the genetic background(s) and biology predisposing to the emergence of a persistent clone of immunoglobulin-producing cells.

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