Multiple myeloma is a cancer of certain cells of the bone marrow called plasma cells. Multiple myeloma is a form of bone marrow cancer. Plasma cells normally produce our antibodies. Multiple myeloma features abnormal proliferation of plasma cells in the bone marrow, destructive bone lesions, and the production of abnormal proteins, specifically antibodies. Multiple myeloma is also referred to as myeloma.
Multiple myeloma causes a host of organ problems and symptoms. Common symptoms of multiple myeloma include
- bone pain,
- back pain,
- increased infections,
- numbness in the legs,
- abnormal blood clotting,
- bone fracture,
- susceptibility to infection, and
- kidney damage and kidney failure.
Causes of multiple myeloma
The cause of multiple myeloma is not known. For many, there is thought to be a premalignant stage whereby plasma cells in the bone marrow produce a seemingly benign, single type of antibody for years. This is called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, or MGUS. After 50 years of age, MGUS is present in over 3% of the population. In those with MGUS, myeloma or another cancer develops at a rate of 1% per year.
Attal, Michel, et al. "Lenalidomide, Bortezomib, and Dexamethasone With Transplantation for Myeloma." N Engl J Med 376 Apr. 6, 2017: 1311-1320.
Rajkumar, S. Vincent. "Patient Information: Multiple myeloma symptoms, diagnosis, and staging (Beyond the Basics)." June 2018. <http://www.uptodate.com/contents/multiple-myeloma-symptoms-diagnosis-and-staging-beyond-the-basics>.
Main Article on Multiple Myeloma Symptoms and Signs
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