Multiple Myeloma


In multiple myeloma, abnormal plasma cells (myeloma cells) build up in the bone marrow, forming tumors in many bones of the body. These tumors may prevent the bone marrow from making enough healthy blood cells. Normally, the bone marrow produces stem cells (immature cells) that develop into three types of mature blood cells:

  • Red blood cells that carry oxygen and other materials to all tissues of the body.
  • White blood cells that fight infection and disease.
  • Platelets that help prevent bleeding by causing blood clots to form.

As the number of myeloma cells increases, fewer red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are made. The myeloma cells also damage and weaken the hard parts of the bones. Sometimes multiple myeloma does not cause any symptoms. The following symptoms may be caused by multiple myeloma or other conditions. A doctor should be consulted if any of the following problems occur:

  • Bone pain, often in the back or ribs.
  • Bones that break easily.
  • Fever for no known reason or frequent infections.
  • Easy bruising or bleeding.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Weakness of the arms or legs.
  • Feeling very tired.

A tumor can damage the bone and cause hypercalcemia (a condition in which there is too much calcium in the blood). This can affect many organs in the body, including the kidneys, nerves, heart, muscles, and digestive tract, and cause serious health problems.

Hypercalcemia may cause the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Feeling thirsty.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Constipation.
  • Feeling very tired.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Restlessness.
  • Mental confusion or trouble thinking.

In rare cases, multiple myeloma can cause organs to fail. This may be caused by a condition called amyloidosis. Antibody proteins build up and may bind together and collect in organs, such as the kidney and heart. This can cause the organs to become stiff and unable to function.

Survival Outcomes

The risk of dying from the transplant for Multiple Myeloma is <1%, with a volume of over 160 patients (for myeloma) per year.  Our total treatment approach including optimal induction, consolidation, risk adapted maintenance, and acces to novel agents on trials before other sites in the southeast contribute to improved survival of our patients.  With access to newer genomic technologies such as DNA sequencing and mutation analysis, provides our patients with state of the art diagnostics and can aid in determining the optimal treatment approach.

Overall survival of over 250 patients treated with RVD induction and personalized maintenance after transplant improves outcomes for standard and high risk patients.

multiple myeloma rvd survival

Clinical Trials

Our participation in national, international and institutional clinical assures that we offer patients the newest knowledge in stem cell biology and transplant immunology.  We also collaborate in research and clinical and basic science through a number of national and international organizations. Learn more