Two cases of Waldenström's macroglobulinaemia have been seen at University College Hospital, Ibadan in the last four years, Case 1 was a 30-year-old soldier who presented with splenomegaly and anaemia, was treated with chlorambucil, and had a complete remission sustained for over two years. Case 2 was a 58-year-old retired civil servant who presented with very severe anaemia and also splenomegaly, and died within three weeks of admission. Both patients had most of the typical features of Waldenström's disease, including retinal changes and serum IgM levels of 4200 and 5500 mg/dl respectively. In both cases an atypical cold antibody was detected in the course of blood cross-matching procedures. In case 1, the antibody agglutinated all adult and cord red cells tested, including the patient's own cells, to a titre of 8000 and above at 4 degrees C. Suprisingly enough, when the patient went into remission and the serum IgM level had fallen to 400 mg/dl, this antibody was no longer detectable and has not reappeared two years later. In case 2, the antibody agglutinated all adult red cells tested to a titre of 2000 at 20 degrees C but not the patient's own red cells. Since cord cells were agglutinated only to a titre of 4 to 20 degrees C it was concluded that the patient had an alloantibody with I-specificity. Therefore in both these patients the monoclonal immunoglobulin produced by the neoplastic lymphoid cell clone had specific activity against red cell antigens.
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