What is Myeloma
Il myeloma it’s a blood cancer which originates from plasma cells. It is a neoplastic disease breaking latest news which has a character relapsing-remitting. This means that there are periods in which myeloma causes symptoms and/or complications and must be treated, followed by periods of remission or plateau in which myeloma causes no symptoms and does not require treatment. Remissions of the disease can be induced with corticosteroids, chemotherapy, proteasome inhibitors, immunomodulatory drugs (such as thalidomide or lenalidomide), and stem cell transplant.
What are plasma cells?
Plasma cells are a type of White blood cells produced in the bone marrow: in particular, they are the result of the maturation of B lymphocytes bone marrow it is the “spongy” tissue found in the center of the largest bones in the body and is where all blood cells are produced. Plasma cells are part of the immune system. Normal plasma cells produce antibodies, also called immunoglobulins, to help fight infections. In myeloma, plasma cells proliferate and accumulate in the bone marrow; in most cases, the myeloma plasma cell produces high quantities of monoclonal immunoglobulins (paraproteins or M-proteins) which can damage tissues and organs.
Myeloma or multiple myeloma?
Myeloma and multiple myeloma are the same blood cancer. Because myeloma affects multiple parts of the body where the bone marrow is normally active, so it is also called “multiple” myeloma.
How does myeloma develop?
Myeloma develops when the DNA is damaged during the development of a plasma cell. This abnormal cell then begins to multiply and spread within the bone marrow. The abnormal plasma cells release a large amount of a unique type of antibody – known as paraprotein – which has no useful function.
Most medical problems related to myeloma are caused by the buildup of abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow and the presence of the paraprotein in the body.
Unlike many cancers, myeloma does not exist as a nodule or neoplastic mass. Myeloma it affects areas where the bone marrow is normally active in an adult, such as the bones of the spine, skull, pelvis, rib cage, long bones of the arms and legs, and in the areas around the shoulders and hips.
Myeloma: who is most at risk?
Myeloma occurs predominantly at a late age (over 50 years of age), but can also occur in much younger people.
The incidence of myeloma is increased in subjects exposed to ionizing radiation and chemical substances (petroleum derivatives and other hydrocarbons, solvents, pesticides, asbestos, etc.). Familial genetic factors, repeated antigenic stimulation and viral agents may also participate in the etiology of multiple myeloma.
What are the symptoms of Myeloma?
The uncontrolled growth of plasma cells can also cause alterations in other blood elements (white blood cells, erythrocytes and platelets), causing anemia, coagulation disorders (thrombocytopenia) e immune system deficiency (leukopenia).
How is Myeloma discovered?
Myeloma is diagnosed with blood and bone marrow tests, urine protein electrophoresis and radiological investigations.
Your doctor can detect signs of multiple myeloma through blood and urine tests performed during a routine physical exam. If the patient is asymptomatic, these laboratory tests can be repeated regularly, in order to monitor the evolution of the disease and determine the best time to start treatment.
Myeloma: can it be cured?
Is Myeloma curable?
Treatment for myeloma can be very effective in controlling the disease, alleviating symptoms and complications, and prolonging a patient’s life. Unfortunately, however, myeloma is currently a incurable cancer.
Myeloma: how does it respond to treatment?
Myeloma is a relapsing-remitting cancer. This means that there are periods in which myeloma causes symptoms and/or complications and must be treated, followed by periods of remission or plateau in which myeloma causes no symptoms and does not require treatment. There are many different treatments for myeloma with different options available for each recurrence.
How long do you live with myeloma?
It is difficult, if not impossible, to predict how long a patient will live with myeloma, but many cases respond to treatment and live with this blood cancer for a long time. The life expectancy of people with myeloma has improved dramatically, and we have more treatment options than ever before.
What does myeloma treatment involve?
If the disease is completely asymptomatic, disease management is limited to clinical observation. In the presence of symptoms, treatment can help relieve pain, control complications, stabilize the condition and slow the progression of myeloma: High-dose chemotherapy treatment, with autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (autograft) has become the most suitable therapeutic option for patients under 65 years of age. This regimen is not curative, but can prolong overall survival and result in complete remission. In addition to the direct treatment of multiple myeloma, bisphosphonates are routinely administered to control lytic lesions and prevent bone fractures. Transfusions based on red blood cells and erythropoietin are useful in correcting the symptoms associated with anemia, while the administration of platelet concentrates can prevent bleeding caused by thrombocytopenia. Steroids and bisphosphonates are also important in the treatment of hypercalcemic crises, while antibiotics are supportive in the management of infections.