DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic Staff
POEMS syndrome is a rare blood disorder that damages your nerves and affects many other parts of the body. POEMS stands for these signs and symptoms:
- Polyneuropathy. Numbness, tingling and weakness in your legs — and over time, maybe in your hands — and difficulty breathing.
- Organomegaly. Enlarged spleen, liver or lymph nodes.
- Endocrinopathy. Abnormal hormone levels that can result in underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), diabetes, sexual problems, fatigue, swelling in your limbs, and problems with metabolism and other essential functions.
- Monoclonal plasma-proliferative disorder. Abnormal bone marrow cells (plasma cells) that produce a protein (monoclonal protein) that can be found in the bloodstream.
- Skin changes. More color than normal on your skin, possibly thicker skin and increased facial or leg hair.
POEMS syndrome can be misdiagnosed because the signs and symptoms mimic those of other disorders. POEMS syndrome progresses rapidly and may become life-threatening, so early diagnosis is important.
Treatment for POEMS syndrome may improve your symptoms but does not cure the condition. Treatment options include radiation therapy, chemotherapy and peripheral blood stem cell transplant.
July 17, 2014
- AskMayoExpert. What are the signs and symptoms of POEMS syndrome? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.
- Daroff RB, et al. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier Saunders; 2012. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 29, 2014.
- Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. POEMS syndrome. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- Dispenzieri A. POEMS syndrome: 2014 update on diagnosis, risk-stratification and management. American Journal of Hematology. 2014;89:213.
- Rajkumar SV. POEMS syndrome. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 29, 2014.
- POEMS syndrome. Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center. http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/gard/7411/poems-syndrome/resources/1. Accessed April 29, 2014.
- Riggin EA. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 12, 2014.
- D'Souza A, et al. Long-term outcomes after autologous stem cell transplantation for patients with POEMS syndrome (osteosclerotic myeloma): A single-center experience. Blood. 2012;120:56.
- Humeniuk MS, et al. Outcomes of patients with POEMS syndrome treated initially with radiation. Blood. 2013;122:68.
- Dispenzieri A. How I treat POEMS syndrome. Blood. 2012;119:5650.