It is the most common of the malignant blood cell neoplasms. It affects mainly elderly patients.The disease is characterized by the plasma cells proliferation in the bone marrow.
Plasmocytes are responsible for the production of immunoglobulins, proteins responsible for the body’s defense and also known as antibodies. In multiple myeloma, the presence of tumor cells may result in increased secretion of abnormal immunoglobulins, resulting in increased infections risk. In addition, the excess protein can overload the kidneys’ blood filtration, leading to kidney failure.
Multiple myelloma progress with varying levels of infiltration into the bone marrow and can lead to descreased RBC production, with consequent anemia. In addition, the tumor cells can partially destroy the bones that house the marrow, a situation that is called osteolysis (or the occurrence of osteolytic injuries) and can be diagnosed on bone X-rays. Finally, the bone injury caused by myeloma can lead to increased blood calcium concentration, called hypercalcemia. To find out more about myeloma, see the section on “Lymphoma and Multiple Myeloma”.