Plasma cell dyscrasias
Plasma cell dyscrasias are characterized by a proliferation of a blood cell precursor, usually a plasma cell, and an overproduction of the specific antibody secreted by the cell. Sometimes the excess antibody is deposited in tissues. Multiple myeloma is the most common plasma cell dyscrasia. The blood cell precursor involved is formed during the early stages of hematopoiesis, so patients with MM produce an excess of many different kinds of cells. The proliferation of plasma cells causes bone disease sometimes resembling osteoporosis. Some patients develop kidney disease as a result of antibody and blood cell deposition in the kidney. Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia is characterized by excess production of IgM antibody. Primary amyloidosis involves the deposition of light-chain antibody fragments. Heavy-chain disease is characterized by excess production of heavy-chain antibody fragments.
Publication Name: JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association
Whither interferon for myeloma and other hematologic malignancies?
Interferon-alpha may be useful in maintaining remission from multiple myeloma, and it may have a future role in treating other cancers of the blood. Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the blood that causes bone lesions. Better diagnostic tests and more treatments have not improved the survival rate. While the disease cannot be cured, remission can be induced by several treatments. Interferon-alpha has been studied as a potential agent for improving the response of multiple myeloma patients to melphalan-prednisone treatment. Interferon, in combination with melphalan-prednisone, was found to lengthen the period of remission from the disease among some patients. Interferon may also be useful in inducing remission from leukemia.
Publication Name: Annals of Internal Medicine
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