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Abstract

Over the last decade, the increasing use of serum and urine protein electrophoretic screening of patients with idiopathic peripheral neuropathy has led to greater recognition of peripheral neuropathy syndromes that are associated with monoclonal proteins and plasma cell dycrasias. After careful evaluation, most of these patients have benign monoclonal gammopathy, followed in frequency by primary systemic amyloidosis and osteosclerotic myeloma, with occasional cases associated with osteolytic multiple myeloma, Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia, gamma heavy chain disease, and other rare disorders. Several of these syndromes have distinctive presentations and are recognizable clinically, whereas others (especially multiple myeloma neuropathy) are diverse clinically and are not clearly distinguishable from other chronic neuropathies. The discovery of lgM-kappa monoclonal proteins directed at myelin antigens in some patients with benign monoclonal gammopathy and the delineation of the syndrome of neuropathy and multiorgan involvement in osteosclerotic myeloma are important developments which may shed light on the mechanism of the remote effects of malignancies on the nervous system.