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Multiple Myeloma
(HM008)

Introduction


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.

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