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Cancer

Paraproteinemia: Inheritable?

02/02/2011

Question:

My sons` Mother has "paraproteinemia." She reports that chemo is the only treatment her physician can recommend. Can this blood CA be inherited by our sons? Should they have blood tests now (at ages 47 and 48.5? What is their Mother`s prognosis: for cure, for remission, for mortality? Thank you.

Answer:

Paraproteinemia is the condition of having abnormal levels of a single type of immunoglobulin (antibody) in the blood. Because immunoglobulins are a specific type of protein, the condition is called paraproteinemia. The abnormal protein is produced by immune cells called plasma cells. Sometimes paraproteinemia is related to the cancer called multiple myeloma which is a bone marrow cancer that is usually treated with chemotherapy. Paraproteinemia can also be benign (non-cancerous), premalignant (develops into cancer), or be related to a different bone marrow cancer called Waldenstrom?s macroglobulinemia that is often, but not always treated with chemotherapy. The condition is not heritable except in extremely rare cases, do no family testing would be necessary. The prognosis and treatment would be based on an exact diagnosis. The finding of paraproteinemia is an abnormal lab test but does not reveal the diagnosis. More information would be needed to go further.

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Response by:

Paula  Silverman, MD Paula Silverman, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University