Multiple autoimmune manifestations in monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance and chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Leukemia. 1996 Feb;10(2):327-32.


In 18 cases of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, MGUS (monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance), admitted for diagnosed or suspected peripheral neuropathy, 11 patients showed other co-existing autoimmune manifestations. Two had POEMS syndrome (polyneuropathy, organomegaly, endocrinopathy, M-component, and skin symptoms), the others mainly endocrinopathy and polyclonal pseudolymphoma. There were 13 cases of sensorimotor neuropathy, two cases of neuritis, while neuropathy could not be confirmed in three cases. Compared with a retrospective review of autoimmunity in a randomly selected CLL (chronic lymphocytic leukemia) cohort of 115 patients, 13 out of 42 patients with clinical and/or laboratory features of autoimmunity showed co-expression of autoimmune signs, the dominating traits being Coombs positive AIHA (auto-immune hemolytic anemia), platelet autoantibodies, endocrinopathy mainly associated with the thyroid gland, serological and/or rheumatological symptoms, but only one case of sensorimotor neuropathy. Viewed from a current model of acquired autoimmunity it is perhaps not surprising that such autoimmunity is seen predominantly in patients with monoclonal gammopathy. Thus, a high concentration of cross-reacting polyreactive autoantibodies related to the M-component might be present in these patients. Furthermore, quantitative defects of the immunoglobulins including the hypogammaglobulinemia associated with M-components can presumably give rise to a defect of the anti-idiotypic network's regulation of natural autoantibodies and autoimmune manifestations in vivo. Such autoimmune manifestations, which are easily overlooked in CLL may call for additional treatment with immunosuppression and/or intravenous, polyclonal IgG.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic / metabolism
  • Autoimmune Diseases / etiology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Autoimmunity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / complications*
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • POEMS Syndrome / etiology
  • POEMS Syndrome / immunology
  • Paraproteinemias / etiology*
  • Paraproteinemias / immunology


  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic