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Research paper
Proposal of new clinical diagnostic criteria for POEMS syndrome
  1. Tomoki Suichi1,
  2. Sonoko Misawa1,
  3. Yasunori Sato2,
  4. Minako Beppu1,
  5. Emiko Sakaida3,
  6. Yukari Sekiguchi1,
  7. Kazumoto Shibuya1,
  8. Keisuke Watanabe1,
  9. Hiroshi Amino1,
  10. Satoshi Kuwabara1
  1. 1 Department of Neurology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan
  2. 2 Department of Global Clinical Research, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan
  3. 3 Department of Hematology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan
  1. Correspondence to Dr Satoshi Kuwabara, Department of Neurology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba 260-8670, Japan; kuwabara-s{at}


Objective To propose the optimal diagnostic criteria for polyneuropathy, organomegaly, endocrinopathy, M-protein and skin changes (POEMS) syndrome using appropriate statistical methods and disease controls.

Methods This retrospective cohort study included 104 consecutive patients with suspected POEMS syndrome, among whom a gold standard group of 60 patients with definitive POEMS syndrome diagnosis were followed for at least 12 months to strictly exclude other disorders mimicking POEMS syndrome and to confirm response to POEMS syndrome-specific treatment. Thirty patients with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy controls) and 30 with multiple myeloma or immunoglobulin light chain amyloidosis (monoclonal plasma cell proliferation controls) were also included. Logistic regression analyses were performed to determine optimal combination of clinical and laboratory abnormalities, characteristic of POEMS syndrome.

Results The diagnostic criteria were statistically defined as the presence of the three major criteria (polyneuropathy (typically demyelinating), monoclonal plasma cell proliferative disorder and elevated vascular endothelial growth factor) and at least two of the four minor criteria (oedema/effusion, skin changes, organomegaly and sclerotic bone lesions), based on best performance by area under the receiver operating characteristic curve analyses. The sensitivity and specificity were 100% and 100%, respectively; the diagnostic accuracy of the proposed criteria was equivalent to somewhat complicated previous criteria.

Conclusions The statistically defined, simple diagnostic criteria for POEMS syndrome could accelerate early diagnosis and treatment, thereby contribute to better outcome in patients with this serious disease. Prospective larger studies are required to confirm the validity.

  • POEMS syndrome
  • diagnostic criteria
  • sensitivity
  • specificity

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  • Contributors SM, TS and SK conceived the study concept and design and drafted the manuscript; MB, ES, YS, KS, KW and HA enrolled patients and collected the data and YS performed statistical analyses. All authors approved the final manuscript for submission.

  • Funding This work was supported in part by the Health and Labour Sciences Research Grant on Intractable Diseases (Neuroimmunological Diseases) and the Research Grant 16B-1 for Nervous and Mental Disorders from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval The ethics committee of Chiba University Graduate School of Medicine.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.