Health Encyclopedia



Multiple Myeloma

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.


It is possible that the main title of the report Multiple Myeloma is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • Kahler disease
  • myelomatosis
  • plasma cell myeloma

Disorder Subdivisions

  • extramedullary plasmacytoma
  • nonsecretory myeloma
  • osteosclerotic myeloma
  • plasma cell leukemia
  • smoldering myeloma
  • solitary plasmacytoma of bone

General Discussion

Multiple myeloma is a rare form of cancer (1% of malignancy) characterized by excessive production (proliferation) and improper function of certain cells (plasma cells) found in the bone marrow. Plasma cells, which are a type of white blood cell, are produced in the bone marrow and normally reside there. Excessive plasma cells may eventually mass together to form a tumor or tumors in various sites of the body, especially the bone marrow. If only a single tumor is present, the term solitary plasmacytoma is used. When multiple tumors are present, the term multiple myeloma is used. Plasma cells are a key component of the immune system and secrete a substance known as immunoglobulin proteins (M-proteins), a type of antibody. Antibodies are special proteins that the body produces to combat invading microorganisms, toxins, or other foreign substances. Overproduction of plasma cells in affected individuals results in abnormally high levels of these proteins within the body, referred to as M proteins

Major symptoms of multiple myeloma may include bone pain, especially in the back and the ribs; low levels of circulating red blood cells (anemia) resulting in weakness, fatigue, and lack of color (pallor); and kidney (renal) abnormalities. In some cases, affected individuals are more susceptible to bacterial infections such as pneumonia. The cause of multiple myeloma is unknown.


Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

1311 Mamaroneck Avenue

Suite 310

White Plains, NY 10605

Tel: (914)949-5213

Fax: (914)949-6691

Tel: (800)955-4572



International Myeloma Foundation

12650 Riverside Drive

Suite 206

North Hollywood, CA 91607


Tel: (818)487-7455

Fax: (818)487-7454

Tel: (800)452-2873



American Cancer Society, Inc.

250 Williams NW St

Ste 6000

Atlanta, GA 30303


Tel: (404)320-3333

Tel: (800)227-2345

TDD: (866)228-4327


National Cancer Institute

6116 Executive Blvd Suite 300

Bethesda, MD 20892-8322


Tel: (301)435-3848

Tel: (800)422-6237

TDD: (800)332-8615



NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute ~ Hematology Branch

10 Center Dr, Building 10-CRC

3-5140, MSC-1202

Bethesda, MD 20892-1202

Tel: (301)496-5093

Fax: (301)496-8396

Tel: (800)644-2337



Cancer Research UK

Angel Building

407 St John Street

London, EC1V 4AD

United Kingdom

Tel: 020 7242 0200

Fax: 02071216700



Rare Cancer Alliance

1649 North Pacana Way

Green Valley, AZ 85614



Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation

383 Main Avenue

5th Floor

Norwalk, CT 06851


Tel: (203)229-0464

Fax: (203)229-0572



Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126

Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126

Tel: (301)251-4925

Fax: (301)251-4911

Tel: (888)205-2311

TDD: (888)205-3223


Patient Registries at Slone: Myeloma & MDS

Slone Epidemiology Center

1010 Commonwealth Avenue

Boston, MA 02215

Fax: (617)738-5119

Tel: (800)231-3769



Friends of Cancer Research

1800 M Street NW

Suite 1050 South

Washington, DC 22202

Tel: (202)944-6700




American Society of Clinical Oncology

2318 Mill Road Suite 800

Alexandria, VA 22314

Tel: (571)483-1780

Fax: (571)366-9537

Tel: (888)651-3038



Cancer Support Community

1050 17th St NW Suite 500

Washington, DC 20036

Tel: (202)659-9709

Fax: (202)974-7999

Tel: (888)793-9355


Lance Armstrong Foundation

2201 E. Sixth Street

Austin, TX 78702

Tel: (512)236-8820

Fax: (512)236-8482

Tel: (877)236-8820



For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site or email

Last Updated:  3/15/2013

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