This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Gamma heavy chain disease affects the growth of cells in the immune system. People with this disease make an abnormal form of the gamma heavy chain, a protein used to make antibodies. This abnormal protein is overproduced by the body and can lead to abnormal cell growth. Gamma heavy chain disease mainly affects older adults with symptoms that may include swollen lymph nodes, an enlarged liver and spleen, and anemia. Some people with gamma heavy chain disease have no symptoms, while others have many symptoms and can develop an aggressive form of lymphoma. The cause of gamma heavy chain disease is unknown, but about one-third of people with this condition have an autoimmune disease. Diagnosis is based on finding high levels of gamma heavy chain in the blood, urine, and bone marrow. Treatment is focused on the symptoms and may include chemotherapy. Gamma heavy chain disease is one of three different types of heavy chain disease.
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