POEMS syndrome

Malays J Pathol. 2017 Dec;39(3):297-303.


POEMS syndrome is the syndrome of Polyneuropathy, Organomegaly, Endocrinopathy, Monoclonal protein and typical Skin changes. A 65-year-old lady presented with the 2-day-history of inability to walk, 4-month-history of progressive worsening of muscle weakness of both lower limbs and 1-year-history of progressive worsening of bilateral numbness of lower limbs. Nerve conduction study revealed generalized sensorimotor demyelinating polyneuropathy. She was initially treated as chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) and high-dose prednisolone. However, she had no significant neurological improvement despite getting standard therapy. In addition to peripheral neuropathy, the presence of hepatosplenomegaly, skin changes, polycythaemia and thrombocytosis prompted for further investigations. She was diagnosed as POEMS syndrome based on the presence of two mandatory major criteria [polyneuropathy, monoclonal plasma cell proliferative disorder (lambda)], one major criterion (sclerotic bone lesions) and three minor criteria (organomegaly, skin changes and thrombocytosis/polycythaemia). She received treatment with melphalan and prednisolone. She achieved clinical improvement and partial response (haematologic and radiological) after six cycles of therapy. We highlight the awareness of this rare syndrome, for patients presenting with peripheral neuropathy and not responding to its standard therapy, by recognizing other associated clinical manifestations and proceeding further diagnostic work-up.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Melphalan / therapeutic use
  • Myeloablative Agonists / therapeutic use
  • POEMS Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • POEMS Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Prednisolone / therapeutic use


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Myeloablative Agonists
  • Prednisolone
  • Melphalan