How is the onset of Waldenström macroglobulinemia characterized?

Updated: May 29, 2020
  • Author: Karen Seiter, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

Onset is insidious and nonspecific. Many patients are asymptomatic at presentation and are diagnosed incidentally from routine blood work. Weakness, anorexia and weight loss are the most common symptoms. Merlini et al reported the frequency of presenting features in 215 patients with Waldenström macroglobulinemia, as follows [22] :

  • Weakness - 66%
  • Anorexia - 25%
  • Peripheral neuropathy - 24%
  • Weight loss - 17%
  • Fever - 15%
  • Raynaud phenomenon - 11%; Raynaud phenomenon is due to cryoglobulinemia and may precede other serious symptoms by several years

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