POEMS syndrome is a rare disorder of the blood that affects many of your body systems and causes damage to your nerves. POEMS syndrome may occur because of the growth of certain bone marrow plasma cells (clonal plasma cells) that produce an abnormal amount of blood proteins, which damage body organs.

POEMS is an acronym for the syndrome's most common signs and symptoms.

  • Polyneuropathy: Nerve damage causing numbness, tingling and weakness of the hands and feet.
  • Organomegaly: Organ enlargement of liver, lymph nodes or spleen.
  • Endocrinopathy: Abnormal hormone levels.
  • Monoclonal protein: A collection of abnormal blood proteins (immunoglobulins) made from bone marrow cells called plasma cells; also called monoclonal immunoglobulin.
  • Skin changes: Increased skin pigment, increased body hair, thickening of the skin and whitening of the nails.

Other features may also be present in POEMS syndrome, such as high platelet counts and blood clots.

Nov. 20, 2012