Multiple Myeloma

It is a type of blood cancer related to white blood cells. In multiple myeloma, plasma cells are increased in number and produce too much protein known as immunoglobulins which enters blood, kidney and other organs.

The plasma cells crowd normal blood cells to cause anaemia. They also release chemicals that dissolve the bone and in worst cases even spill out of bone marrow and spread all over the body to cause more organ damage.

Causes & Risk Factors

The exact cause of multiple myeloma is still unknown; people are more likely to get it due to following risk factors:

  • Age more than 65
  • African-American
  • Affected family member with Multiple myeloma
  • Plasma cell diseases- Solitary plasmacytoma or MGUS


During early days, multiple myeloma may not cause any symptoms. But in later stages, people could notice:

  • Pain in Bones
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Loss of Weight


A blood and bone marrow test is conducted to confirm:

  • Excessive calcium in blood
  • Very less red blood cells or Anaemia
  • Kidney problems
  • High protein levels along with a low albumin level
  • Abnormal proteins in urine
  • Increased plasma cells in bone marrow

Once multiple myeloma is confirmed, the doctor can further order for some tests, including:

  • Electrophoresis and immunofixation to measure immunoglobulin and its type
  • X-rays to find out weakened regions in bone caused due to multiple myeloma.
  • In some cases, the doctor may also need an MRI, CT scan, or PET scan.


Although Multiple Myeloma can’t be cured, there are treatments and medications that slow down its prevalence. Most of the patients tolerate medicines well and have very good outcome.

Chemotherapy: It can be performed alone or paired with other medications.

Corticosteroids: During chemotherapy the doctor might prescribe Corticosteroids such as dexamethasone or prednisone to minimise side effects.

Stem cell transplant: This procedure can be used for some people who are found fit for it. A machine is used to remove some of stem cells from patient’s own body or a donor. Removed stem cells are freezed and stored. Then high-dose of chemotherapy is applied and it destroys almost all the cells in the bone marrow including healthy and diseased plasma cells. Finally, the stem cells are injected into the veins that travel to the bone marrow, and here stem cells multiply and produce new, healthy blood cells again.

Targeted Therapies: Certain medications are used to target proteins, genes, or tissues and also preventing cancer from growing in size.

Immunomodulatory drugs: These drugs strengthen immune cells to attack cancer cells. Also, these drugs prevent new blood vessels formation to starve the myeloma cells in bone marrow.

Monoclonal antibodies: These antibodies help body’s immune system to find and destroy myeloma cancer cells.

Proteasome inhibitors: They can stop the process that destroys extra proteins in cells, and prevents Myeloma cells to make harmful plasma cells.

As per the risk involved, Multiple myeloma patients are generally graded as high, intermediate, or standard risk. In most of the cases, patients are started with three-drug mixture including a proteasome inhibitor, an immunomodulatory drug, and a corticosteroid.

Radiation therapy: A high intensity beam from a machine is targeted to an affected bone or other affected body part to kill plasma cells, to relieve pain and strengthen impaired bones.
A right diagnosis at a right time can help you to improve your survival.
To know more about multiple myeloma and ideal support, visit us at Chandigarh Cancer And Diagnostic Center (CCDC) for expert consultation.