Heavy chain diseases

Heavy chain diseases
ICD-O-2 Morphology
Effective 1992 - 2000
ICD-O-3 Morphology
Effective 2001 and later
for cases diagnosed 1992 and later
Primary Site(s)
See Abstractor Notes

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6 - B-cell
Module Rule
Alternate Names
Alpha heavy chain disease
Franklin disease
Gamma HCD
Gamma heavy chain disease
Immunoproliferative small intestinal disease
Mu heavy chain disease
Heavy chain diseases (HCD) include three rare B-cell neoplasms that produce monoclonal heavy chains and typically no light chains. The monoclonal immunoglobulin component is composed of either IgG (Gamma HCD), IgA (Alpha HCD), or IgM (Mu HCD).
These lymphoplasmacytic proliferative disorders are characterized by the uncontrolled production of abnormal (incomplete) immunoglobulin heavy chains that cannot combine with light chains to form complete Ig molecules. Specific subtypes may be identified by serum protein electrophoresis, but immunoelectrophoresis or immunofixation may also be needed to detect the variably-sized heavy chains
Abstractor Notes
Heavy chain diseases are rare.

There are three classifications of heavy chain disease: Gamma heavy chain disease, Mu heavy chain disease, and Alpha heavy chain disease. All of these specific heavy chain diseases are coded to 9762/3. (Note that heavy chain deposition disease is not the same as HCD; the deposition term is non-reportable and would be coded 9769/1 if collected.)

Gamma heavy chain disease (Gamma HCD) is a variant of lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma (9671/3) but is a distinct and separate disease. It may involve the lymph nodes, Waldeyer ring, gastrointestinal tract, and other extranodal sites, plus the bone marrow, liver, spleen, and peripheral blood. Most patients have systemic symptoms and generalized disease, including lymphadenopathy and hepatosplenomegaly. Prognosis is extremely variable. Low-grade disease may respond to chemotherapy.

Mu heavy chain disease resembles CLL (9823/3) because of its small, round lymphocytes but it is a distinctly different entity. This is the rarest HCD. It involves spleen, liver, bone marrow, and peripheral blood. Peripheral lymphadenopathy is usually not present. Hepatosplenomegaly is frequent. The disease usually progresses slowly.

The most common HCD, alpha heavy chain disease, is a variant of extranodal marginal zone lymphoma of MALT (9699/3) but it is classified with the other HCD’s. It mainly occurs in young adults and involves the gastrointestinal tract, mainly the small intestine and mesenteric lymph nodes. Gastric and colonic mucosa may be involved. The bone marrow and other organs are usually not involved. Rare respiratory tract involvement is described. Antibiotic therapy (coded as chemotherapy) is very effective on Alpha heavy chain disease. A newer term for alpha HCD is immunoproliferative small intestinal disease (IPSID); these terms had separate codes before 2010.

Of the three different heavy chain diseases, alpha heavy chain disease is the only classification that may transform to diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (9680/3).
Definitive Diagnostic Methods
Bone marrow
Genetic testing
Genetics Data
Deletions in Alpha, Gamma, or Mu heavy chain gene
Incomplete immunoglobulin molecule
Possible insertions of DNA of unknown origin
Alpha heavy chain disease:
CD5 and CD10 negative
CD20+ CD5-, CD10- on marginal zone cells
CD20-, DC138+ on plasma cells
CD79a and CD20 on lymphocytic component
Express B-cell antigens
Gamma heavy chain disease:
Monoclonal cytoplasmic alpha chain without light chain on plasma cells and marginal zone cells
Monoclonal cytoplasmic gamma chain without light chains
Monoclonal cytoplasmic Mu heavy chain, with or without monotypic light chain
Mu heavy chain disease:
Other treatments
Transformations from
Corresponding ICD-9 Codes
203.8 Other immunoproliferative neoplasms
273.2 Other paraproteinemias
Corresponding ICD-10 Codes
C88.2 Gamma heavy chain disease
C88.3 Immunoproliferative small intestinal disease
C88.1 Alpha heavy chain disease
Corresponding ICD-10-CM Codes (effective October 1, 2015 U.S. only)
C88.2 Heavy chain disease
C88.3 Immunoproliferative small intestinal disease
Signs and Symptoms
Diagnostic Exams
Recurrence and Metastases
Epidemiology and Mortality