Abstract Waldenström's macroglobulinemia (WM) is associated with a precursor condition, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) of immunoglobulin-M (IgM) type. The etiology of these conditions is unknown. Recent studies at the population level have provided new data regarding familial aggregation of these disorders and other B-cell malignancies. Studies of familial clusters of WM have demonstrated an increased frequency of IgM MGUS compared with the general population and have provided new data suggesting that the phenotypic spectrum might also include polyclonal gammopathy and hypoglobulinemia. While the preponderance of immunoglobulin abnormalities in relatives of WM cases involves IgM, other immunoglobulin types (IgG and IgA) might also be affected. Large collaborative studies are needed to confirm these findings, which present an opportunity to define the earliest lesion(s) in the WM oncogenic pathway.