Stephen Ansell, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, explains the 2 main types of patients with Waldenström Macroglobulinemia (WM), a rare type of slow-growing, non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Some types of WM present with very few symptoms and are generally only detected because the monoclonal immunoglobulin M antibody, or macroglobulin, protein that is overproduced in WM is detected. This type is generally referred to as indolent WM and may not require therapy, these patients are generally monitored without being treated and will not require treatment for many years.
Patients with WM that present symptoms, which includes weakness, swollen lymph nodes, severe fatigue, nose bleeds, weight loss, and visual and neurological problems, require treatment. Treatment will begin with plasmapheresis followed by chemotherapy plus rituximab.
Although immunotherapy advances in solid tumors have captured much attention in recent years, therapeutic strategies that enable the patient’s own immune system to battle cancer cells have long been integrated into the treatment of patients with hematologic malignancies.
To gain insight into the studies being presented at the ASH Annual Meeting, we interviewed Marcel R.M. van den Brink, MD, PhD, on abstracts being presented by faculty at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.