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J Peripher Nerv Syst. 2012 Mar;17(1):90-101. doi: 10.1111/j.1529-8027.2012.00376.x.

Heterogeneous spectrum of neuropathies in Waldenström's macroglobulinemia: a diagnostic strategy to optimize their management.

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Département de Neurophysiologie Clinique, Hôpital de la Salpêtrière, 47 bd de l'Hôpital, Paris Cedex 13, France.


Neuropathy in Waldenström's macroglobulinemia (WM) is very heterogeneous. We retrospectively studied 40 patients with WM and neuropathy to analyze the different presentations and mechanisms encountered and to propose a diagnostic strategy. Twenty-five patients (62.5%) had axonal neuropathy, related to the following mechanisms: amyloid neuropathy (n = 5), cryoglobulinemic neuropathy (n = 5), neuropathy associated with tumoral infiltration (n = 2), vasculitic neuropathy (n = 2), a clinical motor neuropathy possibly of dysimmune origin (n = 6), or an unclassified mechanism (n = 5). A demyelinating pattern was observed in 15 patients, 10 having anti-myelin-associated glycoprotein (anti-MAG) antibodies and 5 having neuropathy related to chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy. On the basis of these results, we propose a diagnostic strategy combining: (1) an EMG to distinguish between a demyelinating and an axonal pattern; (2) measurement of anti-MAG and anti-ganglioside antibodies; (3) screening for "red flag" features to orientate further investigations. This strategy may help clinicians to identify the mechanism of neuropathy in order to adapt the therapeutic strategy.

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