Wang, Chen Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital and University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Tian, Shen Department of Medicine, Guilin Medical University, Guilin, China.
Last reviewed:August 2020
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A type of blood cancer that derives from plasma cells. Myeloma is often referred to as multiple myeloma (Fig. 1) because malignant plasma cells commonly affect multiple areas of the bone marrow. Historically, myeloma was called Kahler's disease, named after the Austrian physician, Otto Kahler (1849–1893), who described its clinical features. Normal plasma cells are terminally differentiated B cells (B lymphocytes) that produce immunoglobulins that are known as antibodies. In myeloma, malignant plasma cells expand in the bone marrow and typically produce monoclonal immunoglobulin, also known as paraprotein or M protein. The presence of M protein is referred to as monoclonal gammopathy. Based on the extent of plasma cell expansion in the bone marrow, the amount of M protein in the blood and urine, and the level of myeloma-related organ damage, plasma cell neoplasms are diagnosed as monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), asymptomatic (smoldering) myeloma, plasmacytoma, or myeloma. See also: Antibody; Blood; Bone disorders; Cancer; Cellular immunology; Clinical immunology; Immunoglobulin; Immunology; Monoclonal antibodies; Oncology
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