, Volume 81, Issue 3, pp 136-139
Date: 16 Feb 2002

IgM myeloma: a report of four cases

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IgM myeloma is a rare disease, accounting for approximately 0.5% of multiple myelomas (MM). Here we report four cases of IgM multiple myeloma. Two were diagnosed in advanced clinical stages with multiple osteolytic lesions, leading to hypercalcemia in one patient. Bone marrow morphology showed a variable degree of infiltration with mainly mature plasma cells. An immunophenotypic analysis performed in one case showed expression of CD38 and monoclonal cytoplasmatic immunoglobulin. Interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization performed in one case did not reveal any aneuploidies or deletions of the retinoblastoma, P16, or P53 tumor suppressor genes. While one patient with a smoldering IgM myeloma did not need specific therapy, the others received cytotoxic treatment based on standard chemotherapy for MM. The outcomes were one stable disease, one sustained complete remission, and one progressive disease. All four patients were alive 1 year after diagnosis. One died due to progressive disease after 31 months. We conclude that IgM myeloma shares clinical and histological features with other MM rather than with Waldenström's macroglobulinemia, which is most commonly diagnosed in cases with IgM monoclonal gammopathy. Since MM and Waldenström's macroglobulinemia differ in prognosis and treatment strategies, the two disease entities should be distinguished based on clinical criteria, bone marrow morphology, and immunophenotypic analysis.