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Plasmacytosis is the presence of large numbers of plasma cells in bone or other tissue where doctors would not normally expect to encounter them. This condition can be the result of disease or infection, or it might be a sign of a spreading malignancy. If a doctor identifies plasmacytosis in a patient, he or she might recommend follow-up testing to determine the cause. If necessary, the doctor can provide treatment to address the issue.
One reason the plasmacytosis develops is the presence of plasmacytoma, a cancer of the plasma cells that causes them to grow out of control. In this case, a pathologist can examine a sample of the cells under a microscope to identify the malignancy. The cells will look different from regular plasma cells and might behave abnormally in culture. If the patient has this type of cancer, treatments can include chemotherapy to kill the cancer cells and to limit their reproduction in the body, thereby preventing recurrence.
Conditions such as multiple myeloma and cutaneous B-cell lymphoma are also associated with plasmacytosis. In these cases, the patient might experience symptoms such as fatigue, anemia and swelling along with the high numbers of plasma cells. Medical evaluation can include imaging studies, analysis of tissue samples under a microscope and a careful patient interview. Treatment might include chemotherapy, radiation and other measures to get the malignancy under control.
It also is possible to develop plasmacytosis in association with lung infections and certain other conditions. In these cases, the patient might already be receiving treatment for the underlying disease. The proliferation of plasma cells can indicate that the treatment has not had a chance to take effect or that it is not working as well as desired. The doctor might consider the patient's history and treatment to decide how to proceed with further diagnostic and treatment options to resolve the primary disease. Treating the cause should resolve the excess of plasma cells.
When a doctor identifies plasmacytosis, the patient can ask for information about the situation. The doctor might be able to offer information and advice on the basis of the available data or can explain that more testing is necessary to determine why the patient has plasmacytosis. Doctors are often reluctant to speculate initially, because they do not want to panic or upset patients without due cause; a discussion of potential cancers, for example, would frighten the patient and might be an incorrect speculation, so the doctor might prefer to wait for a pathology report.