- NHL Treatment
- Hodgkin's Treatment
- Clinical Trials
- Monoclonal Antibodies
Lymphoplasmacytic Lymphoma (LPL) is an indolent (slow growing) cancer that affects plasma cells. A plasma cell is a specialized type of B cell that produces antibodies used for fighting infections. If a mutation occurs while the B cells are maturing into plasma cells, then they multiply uncontrollably.
As a result, they overproduce a protein called macroglobulin (IgM), which is a type of antibody. High IgM levels cause hyperviscosity of the blood, meaning that it becomes too thick. The thickness of the blood causes most of the symptoms a patient suffers from. Because of macroglobulin’s activity in this cancer, it is also called Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia.
This rare disease represents only 1.5% of all Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas, and it is primarily diagnosed in older patients. Men are more likely to be diagnosed than women. Patients often have tumors in their lymph nodes, bone marrow, and spleen.
Patients with LPL do not always present with symptoms. However, some patients may experience one or all of the following:
Diagnosis of LPL is done using blood work and a bone marrow biopsy. Doctors will measure the levels of IgM and other tumor markers in the blood. Cells from the bone marrow biopsy will be examined under a microscope to confirm the LPL diagnosis.
There are several treatments used for Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia. Your doctor may use one of the following, or multiple in combination: