What is POEMS syndrome?

This is an autoimmune condition characterised by:

- dysfunctioning peripheral motor and sensory nerves

- enlargement of organs such as the liver and spleen

- dysfunctioning endocrine glands producing adrenal insufficiency, hypothyroidism and type II diabetes mellitus due to pancreatic damage

M proteins
- antibody proteins produced by plasmacytomas (tumours in the bone marrow) that target the nerves producing the polyneuropathy

Skin changes
- changes such as hyperpigmentation and excessive hair growth can occur

Radiotherapy and chemotherapy are used to eliminate the plasmacytomas that are producing the M protein causing the neurological signs. Hormone replacement therapy can be used to replace missing hormones from malfunctioning endocrine glands.