I See Waldenström's macroglobulinemia (WM)

Welcome to I see Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia, a dedicated resource to help healthcare practitioners find the latest information about the signs, symptoms and diagnosis of WM.

What is Waldenström's macroglobulinemia (WM)?

Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia (WM) is a chronic, indolent, B-cell disorder characterised by bone marrow infiltration with lymphoplasmacytic cells, along with IgM monoclonal gammopathy.[1][2]

WM statistics

of Non-Hodgkin lymphomas[3]

Median age of diagnosis[3]

~2x more common in men[3]

Median overall survival[4]

WM incidence rates

In Europe, the WM incidence rate is 7.3 per million in men, and 4.2 per million in women[3]

A strong familial predisposition has been reported,[3][5] first-degree relatives of WM patients have up to 20-fold increased risk for developing WM (and also increased risk but at lower level for other B-cell disorders).[3]

In contrast to multiple myeloma, WM prevalence is higher among Caucasians than other races.[3][6]

Risk factors

The main risk factor for WM is the presence of IgM-monoclonal gammopathy of uncertain significance (MGUS).[7][8] Whilst in most people, MGUS remains stable and doesn’t cause problems or need treatment, there is a risk of MGUS developing into a cancer.[9] The presence of IgM-MGUS increases the risk of WM by 46 times vs. the general population.[10][11]

Other risk factors include:[10][11]:

Genetic predisposition[3][7]
Presence of autoimmune disease[7]
History of infections[7]

WM immunophenotype and genetic mutations

WM cells are characterised by very specific immunophenotypes[3][7]:


Positive for WM

IgM, CD19, CD20, CD22, CD25, CD27, CD79a


Variable for WM

CD5, CD10, CD23, CD138


Negative for WM


These characteristic immunophenotypes differentiate WM from other Non-Hodgkin lymphomas and from multiple myeloma (MM).[7]


Patients with WM present with different genetic variations, with the most common being del (6q) together with the somatic mutation in MYD88(L265P).[7] The latter has an important role in the growth and survival of WM cells.[1][7]

Learn about the steps involved in diagnosing your patient’s WM

Other blood cancer conditions

I see AL amyloidosis

The latest insights into diagnosing and treating AL amyloidosis.

I see mantle cell lymphoma (MCL)

Current advice regarding the diagnosis and treatment of MCL.

I see acute myeloid leukaemia (AML)

Most recent guidance into diagnosing and treating acute myeloid leukaemia.


A dedicated online resource for healthcare professionals to learn about the diagnosis and management of rare haematological malignancies: AL amyloidosis, Waldenström's macroglobulinemia, mantle cell lymphoma and acute myeloid leukaemia.

Download this information on Waldenström's

CD=cluster of differentiation; IgM=immunoglobulin M; MGUS=monoclonal gammopathy of uncertain significance; WM=Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia.

This site has been developed by Janssen-Cilag International NV. Janssen-Cilag International NV is the responsible editor of this document.



Treon SP, et al. Somatic mutations in MYD88 and CXCR4 are determinants of clinical presentation and overall survival in Waldenström macroglobulinemia. Blood. 2014;123(18):2791–2796.
Wang H, et al. Temporal and geographic variations of Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia incidence: a large population-based study. Cancer. 2012;118:3793–3800.
Kastritis E, et al. Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Ann Oncol. 2018;29(Suppl 4):iv41–iv50.
International Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia Foundation. Prognosis. Accessed April 2021. https://iwmf.com/prognosis/
Treon SP, et al. Familial disease predisposition impacts treatment outcome in patients with Waldenström macroglobulinemia. Clin Lymphoma Myeloma Leuk. 2012;12(6):433–437.
Teras LR, et al. 2016 US lymphoid malignancy statistics by World Health Organization subtypes. CA Cancer J Clin. 2016;66:443–459.
Sahin I, et al. Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia: from biology to treatment. Expert Rev Hematol. 2014;7(1):157–168.
McMaster ML. Familial Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia. Semin Oncol. 2003;30(2):146–152.
Simon L, et al. How we manage patients with Waldenström macroglobulinemia. Br J Haematol. 2018;181(6):737–751.
Lymphoma Action. Lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma and Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia. Updated April 2019. Accessed May 2021. https://lymphoma-action.org.uk/types-lymphoma-non-hodgkin-lymphoma/lymphoplasmacytic-lymphoma-and-waldenstroms-macroglobulinaemia