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Blood. 2011 Jun 16;117(24):6438-44. doi: 10.1182/blood-2010-11-316935. Epub 2011 Mar 8.

Bone marrow histopathology in POEMS syndrome: a distinctive combination of plasma cell, lymphoid, and myeloid findings in 87 patients.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


POEMS is an uncommon syndromic disorder characterized by polyneuropathy, organomegaly, endocrinopathy, monoclonal protein, and skin changes. There are few descriptions of the bone marrow pathology of POEMS; therefore, peripheral blood smears and bone marrow aspirates and biopsies from 87 patients (143 total, 67 pretreatment, 76 posttreatment cases) with POEMS were studied. Plasma cell clonality was analyzed by flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry, and/or in situ hybridization. Monotypic plasma cells were detected in 44 pretreatment cases (66%); the majority of plasma cells expressed λ light chain (91%). The monotypic plasma cells typically were present in a background of increased polytypic plasma cells. Lymphoid aggregates were found in 33 (49%) pretreatment cases and in most cases were rimmed by plasma cells (97%). Megakaryocyte hyperplasia (36 cases) and clusters (62 cases) were frequent; however, none of the 43 cases tested had the JAK2(V617F) mutation. In summary, we have identified a novel constellation of features that should strongly suggest POEMS syndrome as part of the differential diagnosis. The constellation of λ-restricted monoclonal gammopathy, plasma cell rimming around lymphoid aggregates, and megakaryocytic hyperplasia in a bone marrow is highly suggestive of this diagnosis, especially in the context of a peripheral neuropathy.

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