Cryoglobulinemia may be found in a spectrum of disorders spanning clearcut-B-cell neoplastic states, in which cryoprecipitation manifests as ischemic or occlusive vasculopathy, to a variety of immune complex diseases, in which vasculitis or glomerulonephritis may occur. Symptomatic cryoglobulinemia is many diseases, driven by and driving antibody-antigen responses, hepatic dysfunction, lymphoproliferation, and immune complexes. Distinguishing features that cause only some cryoglobulins to be symptomatic, elucidating the pathogenic mechanisms of HCV in cryoglobulin formation, and devising better therapies and more systematic evaluation of existing therapies are among the challenges for the future. Prognostication and classification will continue to rely on Brouet's classification (types I, II, and III), but additional features will probably include the presence or absence of HCV, HCV factors (genotype, titer), coexisting infections, B-cell clone burden, host factors, and immune system interactions (B- and T-cell idiotype networks, cytokines). Although antiviral therapy is a reasonable option for HCV-associated cryoglobulinemia, not all patients are HCV- positive, and only 60% to 80% of HCV-positive patients respond to IFN. In addition, not all patients tolerate IFN, and in those who do, the response is often short-lived once the treatment is discontinued. Only creative strategies, systematically studied, will provide long-awaited solutions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas