Multiple myeloma is a rare blood cancer that arises from the plasma cells, a type of white blood cell which is made in the bone marrow. These plasma cells become abnormal, multiply and release a type of antibody known as paraprotein, which causes symptoms of the disease, including bone pain, frequent or recurring infections and fatigue, a symptom of anemia. These malignant plasma cells have the potential to cause a number of serious health problems affecting the bones, immune system, kidneys and red blood cell count. 1
Multiple myeloma is the second most common blood cancer. 2 Nearly 230,000 people around the world currently live with multiple myeloma, with approximately 114,000 new cases diagnosed globally each year. 3
Although advances in treatment have improved outcomes, multiple myeloma remains an incurable, life-threatening disease characterized by multiple relapses, with substantial burdens on patients and caregivers. 4
1 Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Website. www.themmrf.org. Accessed August 2021. 2 Mateos MV, San Miguel JF. How should we treat newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients? Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2013;2013:488-495. 3 International Agency for Research on Cancer. Globocan 2012: Estimated Cancer Incidence, Mortality and Prevalence in 2012. Accessible on: http://globocan.iarc.fr/Pages/fact_sheets_population.aspx. Accessed August 12, 2021. 4 Borrello, I. Can we change the disease biology of multiple myeloma? Leuk Res. 2012;36(suppl1):S3-S12.