Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the bone marrow where abnormal quantity of white blood cells, leukocytes, proliferate uncontrollably.

Multiple myeloma is one of the most common types of bone marrow cancers. It attacks the plasma of cells, the white blood cells that produce antibodies whose function is to protect from infections. Plasma cells go through a cancerous change, they start proliferating uncontrollably and thus hampers the production f healthy red blood cells, leukocytes, and thrombocytes. These abnormal and cancerous cells of the plasma are called myeloma cells.

The myeloma cells produce abnormal number of antibodies, and on the other hand, there is reduced production of healthy white blood cells that protect us from infections. Myeloma cells also destroy the bone tissue, which further leads to pains in the bones, breaking of bones and release of extra calcium in the bloodstream.

The small number of red blood cells causes reduced ability of the blood to transport oxygen to the other organs, while lower count of thrombocytes may lead to abnormal hemorrhaging.

Multiple myeloma is showing higher incidence in people over 40.



The symptoms of multiple myeloma are the following:

  • fatigue
  • paleness
  • shortness of breath
  • pain in the bones, mostly in the back, as the myeloma cells proliferate and accumulate in the bone marrow and spread through the skeleton
  • easy breaking of bones
  • recurrent infections
  • easy bruising, even without injury
  • thirst, frequent need for urination and constipation due to increased level of calcium in the blood

Some patients may not feel any symptoms, especially in the early stage.



The cause of multiple myeloma is not known. It is known that it starts with one abnormal plasma cell in the bone marrow. Once it starts, the cells start to proliferate rapidly and do not die, i.e. these cancerous cells do not follow the normal lifecycle of a cell.


Risk Factors

The risk factors for multiple myeloma known by far are:

  • age
  • race – black people develop it more than white
  • monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance – it has been noted that 1% of people with this condition develop multiple myeloma



The complications from multiple myeloma may be:

  • stiff bones which are easier to break
  • recurrent infections
  • anemia
  • kidney failure, due to increased calcium in the blood