Waldenström's macroglobulinemia risk factors

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Sara Mohsin, M.B.B.S.[2], Mirdula Sharma, MBBS [3], Roukoz A. Karam, M.D.[4]; Grammar Reviewer: Natalie Harpenau, B.S.[5]


Common risk factors for the development of Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia are monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, inherited immune disorders,heredity, hepatitis C and other autoimmune disorders, age >50 years, male gender, white race, allergic conditions like hay fever, multiple environmental factors, Human T-lymphotrophic virus type I or Epstein-Barr virus, history of Helicobacter pylori infection, history of immunosuppressant drug therapy after an organ transplant, diet rich in meat and fat and history of past treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma.

Risk Factors

Following are the common risk factors for the development of Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia:[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11]

Risk factors for the development of lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma
Pre-existing Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) is the most common risk factor, associated with 40 times more likelihood of developing Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia[1] Non-modifiable factors
Inherited immune disorders
Heredity[2][3][4] Patients with Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia usually have a close/first-degree relative with the disease or with a related B-cell disease, such as MGUS or certain types of lymphoma or leukemia
Age >50 years
Autoimmune Diseases[4][5][6][7][8][9] Personal and family history of autoimmune diseases with autoantibodies and chronic immune stimulation leads to 2-3 fold higher risk of developing WM, especially elevated risks are associated with following:
Modifiable factors
Allergic conditions Hay fever is also known to be associated with increased risk of Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia
Human T-lymphotrophic virus type I or Epstein-Barr virus infection
Environmental factors[10][11] According to some recent studies, exposure to following environmental factors seems to have an association with the development of WM:
History of Helicobacter pylori infection
History of immunosuppressant drug therapy after an organ transplant
Diet rich in meat and fat
History of past treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma


  1. 1.0 1.1 Waldenström's macroglobulinemia. American Cancer Society (2015)http://www.cancer.org/cancer/waldenstrommacroglobulinemia/detailedguide/waldenstrom-macroglobulinemia-risk-factors Accessed on November 6, 2015
  2. 2.0 2.1 Treon SP, Hunter ZR, Aggarwal A, Ewen EP, Masota S, Lee C; et al. (2006). "Characterization of familial Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia". Ann Oncol. 17 (3): 488–94. doi:10.1093/annonc/mdj111. PMID 16357024.
  3. 3.0 3.1 McMaster ML, Csako G, Giambarresi TR, Vasquez L, Berg M, Saddlemire S; et al. (2007). "Long-term evaluation of three multiple-case Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia families". Clin Cancer Res. 13 (17): 5063–9. doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-07-0299. PMID 17785558.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Kristinsson SY, Björkholm M, Goldin LR, McMaster ML, Turesson I, Landgren O (2008). "Risk of lymphoproliferative disorders among first-degree relatives of lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma/Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia patients: a population-based study in Sweden". Blood. 112 (8): 3052–6. doi:10.1182/blood-2008-06-162768. PMC 2569164. PMID 18703425.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Koshiol J, Gridley G, Engels EA, McMaster ML, Landgren O (2008). "Chronic immune stimulation and subsequent Waldenström macroglobulinemia". Arch Intern Med. 168 (17): 1903–9. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2008.4. PMC 2670401. PMID 18809818.
  6. 6.0 6.1 de Sanjose S, Benavente Y, Vajdic CM, Engels EA, Morton LM, Bracci PM; et al. (2008). "Hepatitis C and non-Hodgkin lymphoma among 4784 cases and 6269 controls from the International Lymphoma Epidemiology Consortium". Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 6 (4): 451–8. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2008.02.011. PMC 3962672. PMID 18387498.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Kristinsson SY, Koshiol J, Björkholm M, Goldin LR, McMaster ML, Turesson I; et al. (2010). "Immune-related and inflammatory conditions and risk of lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma or Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia". J Natl Cancer Inst. 102 (8): 557–67. doi:10.1093/jnci/djq043. PMC 2857799. PMID 20181958.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Ekström Smedby K, Vajdic CM, Falster M, Engels EA, Martínez-Maza O, Turner J; et al. (2008). "Autoimmune disorders and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma subtypes: a pooled analysis within the InterLymph Consortium". Blood. 111 (8): 4029–38. doi:10.1182/blood-2007-10-119974. PMC 2288717. PMID 18263783.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Landgren O, Engels EA, Pfeiffer RM, Gridley G, Mellemkjaer L, Olsen JH; et al. (2006). "Autoimmunity and susceptibility to Hodgkin lymphoma: a population-based case-control study in Scandinavia". J Natl Cancer Inst. 98 (18): 1321–30. doi:10.1093/jnci/djj361. PMID 16985251.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Royer RH, Koshiol J, Giambarresi TR, Vasquez LG, Pfeiffer RM, McMaster ML (2010). "Differential characteristics of Waldenström macroglobulinemia according to patterns of familial aggregation". Blood. 115 (22): 4464–71. doi:10.1182/blood-2009-10-247973. PMC 2881498. PMID 20308603.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Vajdic CM, Landgren O, McMaster ML, Slager SL, Brooks-Wilson A, Smith A; et al. (2014). "Medical history, lifestyle, family history, and occupational risk factors for lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma/Waldenström's macroglobulinemia: the InterLymph Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Subtypes Project". J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr. 2014 (48): 87–97. doi:10.1093/jncimonographs/lgu002. PMC 4155457. PMID 25174029.