Multiple myeloma is a hematologic (blood) malignancy that forms in a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. Plasma cells are a type of fully developed B lymphocytes, a group of white blood cells that originate in the bone marrow and play an important role in the immune system. This disease is called “multiple” myeloma because tumors often develop in more than one location in the bone marrow.
In myeloma, one population of normal antibody-producing plasma cells transform into malignant myeloma cells and replicate uncontrollably. Instead of producing healthy germ fighting antibodies, the malignant cells produce abnormal proteins (such as monoclonal M- protein) that crowd out and inhibit the production of normal blood cells and antibodies in the bone marrow.
Symptoms associated with Multiple Myeloma “CRAB” hyperCalcemia, Renal insufficiency, Anemia, Bone lesions: The immune system is negatively affected by the overproduction of one antibody and can no longer effectively target all pathogens. As the plasma cells continue to multiply, damage to organs can occur, specifically the kidneys. Anemia results when the myeloma prevents the bone marrow from producing red blood cells. Osteolytic lesions (soft spots in the bone) by melanoma cells often replace solid healthy bone marrow.