Treatment of Acquired von Willebrand Syndrome in Patients With Monoclonal Gammopathy of Uncertain Significance: Comparison of Three Different Therapeutic Approaches

Augusto B. Federici, Federica Stabile, Giancarlo Castaman, Maria Teresa Canciani and Pier Mannuccio Mannucci


Patients with monoclonal gammopathies of uncertain significance (MGUS) may develop an acquired bleeding disorder similar to congenital von Willebrand disease, called acquired von Willebrand syndrome (AvWS). In these patients, measures to improve hemostasis are required to prevent or treat bleeding episodes. We diagnosed 10 patients with MGUS and AvWS: 8 had IgGκ (3) or λ (5) MGUS and 2 IgM-κ MGUS. Three therapeutic approaches were compared in them: (1) desmopressin (DDAVP), (2) factor VIII/von Willebrand factor (FVIII/vWF) concentrate, and (3) high-dose (1 g/kg/d for 2 days) intravenous Ig (IVIg). In patients with IgG-MGUS, DDAVP and FVIII/vWF concentrate increased factor VIII and von Willebrand factor in plasma, but only transiently. IVIg determined a more sustained improvement of the laboratory abnormalities and prevented bleeding during surgery (short-term therapy). In addition to the standard 2-day infusion protocol, a long-term IVIg therapy was performed in 2 patients with IgG-MGUS: repeated (every 21 days) single infusions of IVIg did improve laboratory abnormalities and stopped chronic gastrointestinal bleeding. On the other hand, IVIg failed to correct laboratories abnormalities in patients with IgM-MGUS. These comparative data obtained in a relative large and homogeneous group of patients with AvWS and MGUS confirm that DDAVP and FVIII/vWF concentrates improve the bleeding time (BT) and FVIII/vWF measurements only transiently, whereas IVIg provides a sustained treatment of AvWS associated with IgG-MGUS, but not with IgM-MGUS.

© 1998 by The American Society of Hematology.

  • Submitted March 9, 1998.
  • Accepted May 27, 1998.
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