Multiple Myeloma

Definition of multiple myeloma: A type of cancer that begins in plasma cells (white blood cells that produce antibodies). Also called Kahler disease, myelomatosis, and plasma cell myeloma.

Estimated new cases of multiple myeloma in the United States in 2016: 30,330

Myeloma, also known as multiple myeloma or plasma cell myeloma, is the third most commonblood cancer (after lymphoma and leukemia) in the United States and constitutes approximately 1.4 percent of the estimated new cancer cases in 2014. It is estimated that more than 24,000 individuals will be diagnosed with myeloma in the United States in 2014.

Risk factors for myeloma include being middle aged or older, being black, being male, having been exposed to radiation or certain chemicals, and having a personal history of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) or isolated plasmacytoma of the bone. There is no standard or routine screening test for myeloma. Standard treatments for myeloma include chemotherapy, corticosteroid therapy,  targeted therapy, high-dose chemotherapy withstem cell transplant, biological therapy, radiation therapy, surgery, and watchful waiting.

The following stages are used for multiple myeloma:

Stage I Multiple Myeloma

In stage I multiple myeloma, the blood levels are as follows:

Stage II Multiple Myeloma

In stage II multiple myeloma, the blood levels are as follows:

  • beta-2-microglobulin level is lower than 3.5 mg/L and the albumin level is lower than 3.5 g/dL; or
  • beta-2-microglobulin level is between 3.5 mg/L and 5.4 mg/L.

Stage III Multiple Myeloma

In stage III multiple myeloma, the blood level of beta-2-microglobulin is 5.5 mg/L or higher.

All information was taken from the NCI (National Cancer Institute)