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Multiple myeloma (MM) is one of several diseases that have been collectively termed "plasma cell dyscrasias" and accounts for 10% of all hematological malignancies.
The immune system is composed of several types of cells that work together to fight off infection and other disease. Lymphocytes are the main cell type of the immune system. There are two types of lymphocytes (T-cells and B-cells). When B-cells respond to an infection, they mature and change into plasma cells which produce and release proteins called immunoglobulins (antibodies) that attack and help kill disease-causing germs such as bacteria.
When plasma cells grow out of control, they can produce tumors that can grow in several sites, especially in the bone marrow (plasmacytomas). When these tumors grow in multiple sites they are referred to as multiple myeloma.
MM is the most common primary cancer of the bones in adults with an annual incidence of 3-4 cases per 100,000 population in the United States. MM is considered to be a disease of older persons, occurring most commonly in those over age 50.
Chemotherapy is the standard treatment to destroy or control myeloma cells. The drugs may be taken orally or intravenously, and are commonly given as combinations of two or more.
The choice of regimen depends on the person's age, kidney function, and the stage of the disease.
Radiation may also be used.
Get the Facts... With your MediFocus Guide
The Medifocus Guide on Multiple Myeloma provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:
- What are the most common symptoms of Multiple Myeloma?
- Are there any recognized risk factors for developing Multiple Myeloma?
- What kinds of medical tests are used to establish the diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma?
- What is the current standard of care for the treatment of Multiple Myeloma?
- What treatment options are available for the management of Multiple Myeloma?
- Are there any promising new developments or potential breakthroughs in treatment?
- Who are the most notable medical authorities who specialize in Multiple Myeloma?
- Where are the leading hospitals and centers of research for Multiple Myeloma?
- What are the most important questions to ask my doctor about Multiple Myeloma?
What Your Doctor Reads:
This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:
- Solitary plasmacytoma of bone and asymptomatic multiple myeloma.
- Progress in haematopoietic stem cell transplantation for multiple myeloma.
Journal of Internal Medicine. 2000
- The biology of multiple myeloma.
Journal of Cancer Research & Clinical Oncology. 2000
- Malignant hematopoietic cell lines: in vitro models for the study of multiple myeloma and plasma cell leukemia.
Leukemia Research. 2000
- Novel therapeutic targets in multiple myeloma.
European Journal of Haematology. 2000
- Bisphosphonates in multiple myeloma.
- Introduction: the evolving role of bisphosphonate therapy in multiple myeloma.
- Viewpoint on the impact of interferon in the treatment of multiple myeloma: benefit for a small proportion of patients?.
Medical Oncology. 2000
- Role of INTERLEUKIN-6 in the pathogenesis of multiple myeloma.
Cell Biology International. 2000
- Multidrug resistance in haematological malignancies.
Journal of Internal Medicine. 2000
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