This presentation represents consensus recommendations for the treatment of patients with Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia (WM), which were prepared in conjunction with the second International Workshop held in Athens, Greece during September 2002. The faculty adopted the following statements for the management of patients with Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia: (1) Alkylating agents, nucleoside analogues, and rituximab are reasonable choices for first line therapy of WM. (2) Both cladribine and fludarabine are reasonable choices for the therapy of WM. (3) Combinations of alkylating agents, nucleoside analogues, or rituximab should at this time be encouraged in the context of a clinical trial. (4) In WM, rituximab can cause a sudden rise in serum IgM and viscosity levels in certain patients, which may lead to complications, therefore close monitoring of these parameters and symptoms of hyperviscosity is recommended for WM patients undergoing rituximab therapy. (5) For relapsed disease, it is reasonable to use an alternate first line agent or re-use of the same agent; however, since autologous stem cell transplantation may have a role in treating patients with relapsed disease it is recommended that for patients in whom autologous transplantation is seriously being considered, exposure to alkylator or nucleoside analogue drugs should be limited. (6) Combination chemotherapy for patients who can tolerate myelotoxic therapy, thalidomide alone or with dexamethasone, can reasonably be considered to have relapsed. (7) Autologous stem cell transplantation may be considered for patients with refractory or relapsing disease. (8) Allogeneic transplantation should only be undertaken in the context of a clinical trial. (9) Plasmapheresis should be considered as interim therapy until definitive therapy can be initiated. (10) Rituximab should be considered for patients with IgM-related neuropathies. (II) Corticosteroids may be useful in the treatment of symptomatic mixed cryoglobulinemia. (12) Splenectomy is rarely indicated but has been used to manage painful splenomegaly and hypersplenism.
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