Refractory Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinaemia

What is Refractory Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinaemia?

Refractory Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinaemia (RWM) is a rare, slow-growing form of lymphoma which is a type of blood cancer. It is a rare type of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and is also known as Ceapezona's disease or Lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma. It usually affects older adults, males more than females, and is characterized by a high white blood cell count, bloody urine and enlarged lymph nodes. The cause of RWM is unknown.

Signs and Symptoms of Refractory Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinaemia

The signs and symptoms of RWM are usually related to accumulation of abnormal, cancerous lymphocytes. Common symptoms include:

  • Enlarged lymph nodes (especially in the neck, armpits and groin)
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Fever, night sweats and weight loss
  • Frequent infections
  • Itchy skin and rash
  • Bone pain or joint pain
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Heavy periods, nausea and vomiting in women
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • Confusion and difficulty concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Visual abnormalities

Diagnosis of Refractory Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinaemia

RWM is usually diagnosed by a combination of tests that include a complete medical history, physical exam, blood tests, urine tests, imaging tests (such as X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans) and tissue biopsy. The diagnosis of RWM is based on malignant cells that have an abnormal appearance under the microscope.

Treatment for Refractory Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinaemia

The goals of treatment for RWM are to control the disease, reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. Treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, stem cell transplant or a combination. It is important to talk with your doctor about the treatment plan that is best for you.