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Introduction to Amyloidosis Cancer

Introduction to Amyloidosis Cancer

Executive Summary:

Amyloidosis Cancer is a severe form of cancer that occurs when a protein called amyloid builds up in organs such as the bladder, skin, lungs, kidneys, bowel, liver, heart, spleen, digestive tract, and even the nervous system. There are different types of Amyloidosis, which are either hereditary or caused by external factors like prolonged disease conditions or long-term dialysis. Some of the common types of Amyloidosis include immunoglobulin light chain amyloidosis, autoimmune Amyloidosis, Wild-type Amyloidosis, Hereditary Amyloidosis, and Localized Amyloidosis. Amyloidosis is a rarer type of cancer, so the treatment is more complex, including general cancer treatments like surgeries and therapies like chemotherapy, and may also require stem cells or organ transplants.

What is Amyloidosis Cancer?

Amyloidosis is not viewed as a cancer type and isa rare but severe disease condition, but it is related to certain blood cancers like multiple myeloma. The disease condition occurs when a protein called amyloid builds up in organs. They form when normal protein in the body mutates and clumps together. They deposit in various parts of the body and as this protein accumulates in the tissues and organs, a person will start experiencing multiple signs and symptoms as a result. Eventually, these build-ups will cause organ failure, preventing the tissues and organs from functioning normally. The proteins are not found in the body, and form because of a combination of different body proteins.

Amyloidosis is a condition in which an aberrant protein called amyloid accumulates in the tissues and organs of the body. It has an impact on their shape and functionality when this happens. Furthermore, Amyloidosis is a dangerous health condition that can result in organ failure and death.

Amyloidosis Causes and Types
Amyloid deposits can be caused by various proteins, but only a few have been associated with serious health issues. The type of amyloidosis you have is determined by the type of protein and where it gathers, additionally, Amyloid deposits can form all over your body or in just one spot.

Amyloidosis | Zenonco


Forms of Amyloidosis

There are several forms of amyloidosis:

AL amyloidosis

It is a kind of amyloidosis that affects (immunoglobulin light chain amyloidosis). This is the most frequent form, which was previously known as primary amyloidosis. AL stands for "amyloid light chains," which is the protein that causes the disease. The cause is unknown, however, it occurs when your bone marrow produces aberrant antibodies that are unable to be broken down. AA amyloidosis is a kind of amyloidosis characterized by the presence of Other chronic infectious or inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, or ulcerative colitis, which causes secondary amyloidosis. It mostly affects your kidneys, but it can also have an impact on your digestive tract, liver, and heart. This form of amyloid is caused by the amyloid type A protein.

Dialysis-induced amyloidosis

This is a condition that affects people who are on dialysis (DRA). This is more common in seniors and those who have been on dialysis for more than five years. Deposits of beta-2 microglobulin build up in the blood, causing this type of amyloidosis. Deposits can form in a variety of tissues, although bones, joints, and tendons are the most typically affected.

Everything You Need to Know About AL Amyloidosis | Everyday Health

Hereditary amyloidosis

Amyloidosis that runs in families, or hereditary amyloidosis is a rare kind that has been passed down down the generations. The liver, nerves, heart, and kidneys are frequently affected, moreover, many genetic flaws have been related to an increased risk of amyloid illness. An aberrant protein, such as transthyretin (TTR), for example, can be the cause.

Systemic amyloidosis

It is caused by old age (senile amyloidosis). Deposits of normal TTR in the heart and other tissues cause this. It most typically affects older men.

Amyloidosis affects only one organ, therefore, this results in amyloid protein accumulation in individual organs, including the skin (cutaneous amyloidosis). Though some types of amyloid deposits have been related to Alzheimer's disease, amyloidosis that occurs throughout the body seldom affects the brain.

Risk factors and symptoms

Amyloidosis Risk Factors
Men are more likely than women to get amyloidosis. As you get older, your chances of developing amyloidosis increase, subsequently, Amyloidosis is a type of malignancy that affects 15% of patients with multiple myeloma.

Amyloidosis Symptoms
While, Amyloidosis manifests itself in a variety of ways, they can also differ significantly depending on where the amyloid protein accumulates in the body, hence, it's crucial to keep in mind that the symptoms listed below could indicate a range of health issues.

General symptoms of amyloidosis may include:

  • Changes in skin color
  • Severe fatigue
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Joint pain
  • Low red blood cell count (anemia)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling of the tongue
  • Tingling and numbness in legs and feet
  • Weak hand grip
  • Severe weakness
  • Sudden weight loss

Cardiac (Heart) Amyloidosis

Amyloid deposits in the heart can stiffen the heart muscle's walls. They can also weaken the heart muscle and disrupt the heart's electrical rhythm. Blood flow to your heart may reduced as a result of this disorder. Your heart will eventually be unable to pump normally. The following symptoms occur, when the heart is affected:

  • Shortness of breath with light activity
  • An irregular heartbeat
  • Signs of heart failure, including swelling of the feet and ankles, weakness, fatigue, and nausea, among others are further symptoms.

Amyloidosis of the Renal (Kidney) Organ
Your kidneys are responsible for filtering waste and poisons from your bloodstream. This is hampered by amyloid deposits. When your kidneys don't perform properly, your body fills up with water and hazardous poisons. You develop the following because of affected liver,

  • Signs of kidney failure, including swelling of the feet and ankles and puffiness around the eyes
  • High levels of protein in your urine.

Gastrointestinal Amyloidosis

Amyloid deposits along your gastrointestinal (GI) tract slow down the movement of food through your intestines. This interferes with digestion. If amyloidosis affects your GI tract, you may have:

Liver enlargement and fluid buildup occur, when the liver is affected.

Amyloid Neuropathy

Amyloid deposits can damage the nerves outside your brain and spinal cord, called the peripheral nerves. The peripheral nerves carry information between your brain and spinal cord and the rest of your body. For example, they make your brain perceive pain if you burn your hand or stub your toes. If amyloidosis affects your nerves, you may have:

  • Balance problems
  • Problems controlling your bladder and bowel
  • Sweating problems
  • Tingling and weakness
  • Lightheadedness when standing due to a problem with your body's ability to control blood pressure

Occurance of Amyloidosis Cancer

Amyloid deposits occur in organs such as the bladder, skin, lungs, kidneys, bowel, liver, heart, spleen, digestive tract, etc ?1?. Sometimes the deposits can be systemic, since this protein can accumulate throughout the body. This accumulation is systemic Amyloidosis, also known as standard form of Amyloidosis ?2?.

Sometimes Amyloidosis occurs along with other disease conditions, and doctors may focus on treating those disease conditions in order to decrease the gravity of Amyloidosis. The treatment of Amyloidosis includes the strategies followed in treating almost all kinds of cancers. It may consist of surgeries and therapies like chemotherapy, and sometimes, it also requires stem cells or organ transplants. The doctor may also prescribe medications or drugs to reduce the production of amyloid protein in the body.

Treatment for Amyloidosis Cancer

Since Amyloidosis is a rare condition, it is rather difficult to predict the disease prognosis and treatment. While the condition can become aggressive and life-threatening if not provided with proper care, today, many types of research and studies are focusing on learning more about this condition to improve the mode of handling the disease. Doctors and specialists are trying to discover methods and various treatment strategies to treat Amyloidosis.

Amyloidosis are of different types, some are hereditary, other are due to external factors like prolonged disease conditions or long-term dialysis. While some subtypes only affect a single organ or body part, others can cause multiple organ failure and challenging circumstances.

Different Types of Amyloidosis:

AL Amyloidosis:

AL amyloidosis or immunoglobulin light chain amyloidosis is the most common type of Amyloidosis. This condition links with plasma cells. Plasma cells refer to a kind of white blood cell whose function is to produce antibodies or immunoglobulins to help the body fight infections ?3?. The light chain is the name of the amyloid protein that causes this condition. These light chains can be lambda or kappa light chains. These mutated light chain proteins can affect one or multiple tissues and organs. AL amyloidosis usually affects the kidneys, liver, heart, nerves, and gastrointestinal tract. AL amyloidosis is linked with multiple myeloma (a type of blood cancer), as this amyloidosis type is associated with the overproduction of plasma proteins.

AA Amyloidosis:

Other names for AA amyloidosis are autoimmune amyloidosis, secondary amyloidosis, or inflammatory amyloidosis. 'A' protein is responsible for this type. Chronic, inflammatory diseases or illnesses triggers this types. For example, tuberculosis, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or other inflammatory bowel diseases. Aged people are at a high risk of contracting AA amyloidosis. But with studies and improved treatment methods, there is a sharp decline in the cases. This Amyloidosis affects the liver, kidneys, spleen, lymph nodes and adrenal glands.

Wild-type Amyloidosis:

The condition occurs when the normal TTR proteins made by the liver produces amyloid proteins for some unknown reasons. Another name for this condition was senile systemic Amyloidosis. Men over the age of 70 years are at risk of this disease condition. The primary target of this amyloidosis type is the heart. This condition also causes carpal tunnel syndrome.

Hereditary Amyloidosis:

Other names for Hereditary Amyloidosis Cancer are familial Amyloidosis, inherited disorder and ATTR amyloidosis. It is a rare disease and is genetic. The condition can affect the heart, nerves and kidneys. It may also cause some eye abnormalities and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Localized Amyloidosis:

This amyloidosis condition offers a better prognosis when compared to all other types. Localized Amyloidosis affects the skin, bladder, lungs and throat. Proper diagnosis and apt treatment strategy can help cure this condition ?4?.


  1. 1.
    Ma?yszko J, Koz?owska K, Ma?yszko JS. Amyloidosis: A cancer-derived paraproteinemia and kidney involvement. Advances in Medical Sciences. Published online March 2017:31-38. doi:10.1016/j.advms.2016.06.004
  2. 2.
    Gupta P, Kulkarni J, Hanamshetti S. Primary amyloidosis with high grade transitional cell carcinoma of bladder: A rare case report. J Can Res Ther. Published online 2012:297. doi:10.4103/0973-1482.98994
  3. 3.
    Gertz MA. Immunoglobulin light chain amyloidosis diagnosis and treatment algorithm 2018. Blood Cancer Journal. Published online May 2018. doi:10.1038/s41408-018-0080-9
  4. 4.
    Kagawa M, Fujino Y, Muguruma N, et al. Localized amyloidosis of the stomach mimicking a superficial gastric cancer. Clin J Gastroenterol. Published online May 12, 2016:109-113. doi:10.1007/s12328-016-0651-x
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