Multiple Myeloma

Our specialists have extensive experience diagnosing, treating and researching these cancers

Multiple myeloma refers to cancer of the bone marrow that invades the bone itself. In multiple myeloma, cells grow out of control in your bone marrow and form tumors in the areas of solid bone. The growth of the bone tumors weakens your bone, and the abnormal cells growing in the marrow restrict it from making healthy blood cells and platelets.

The IU Health Simon Cancer Center has a multidisciplinary team of doctors with extensive experience in diagnosing, treating and researching blood and bone cancers so you can regain your health.

The following symptoms typically present themselves when you have multiple myeloma including:

  • Bone problems. Multiple myeloma attacks bones by disrupting new bone growth and removing existing bone. This leaves you with brittle bones that fracture easily.
  • Anemia. As cancerous cells replace healthy red blood cells, you can become anemic. This means you lack enough red cells to carry sufficient oxygen through the body.
  • Kidney problems. Multiple myeloma can also damage your kidneys, even causing them to fail.

Understanding Multiple Myeloma

The following symptoms typically present themselves when you have multiple myeloma including:

  • Bone problems. Multiple myeloma attacks bones by disrupting new bone growth and removing existing bone. This leaves you with brittle bones that fracture easily.
  • Anemia. As cancerous cells replace healthy red blood cells, you can become anemic. This means you lack enough red cells to carry sufficient oxygen through the body.
  • Kidney problems. Multiple myeloma can also damage your kidneys, even causing them to fail.

IU Health has a full laboratory that delivers diagnostic test results quickly, making it possible for you to receive a diagnosis and begin treatment in one day.

Your cancer specialists may use any of the following diagnostic tools:

  • Blood testing. Checks various blood cell counts for cancerous cells or changes in your blood cell chromosomes.
  • Bone marrow and fine needle aspiration biopsy. Removes a small piece of your bone and bone marrow through a needle inserted into your hipbone, breastbone or a lymph node.
  • Radiographic studies such as X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans and positron emission tomography (PET) scans. These studies take internal pictures of your body, highlighting areas of tumor infiltration.
  • Flow cytometry. Measures the number of cells in a sample, and determines certain cell characteristics such as size, shape and the presence of tumor markers.

Multiple Myeloma Diagnosis

IU Health has a full laboratory that delivers diagnostic test results quickly, making it possible for you to receive a diagnosis and begin treatment in one day.

Your cancer specialists may use any of the following diagnostic tools:

  • Blood testing. Checks various blood cell counts for cancerous cells or changes in your blood cell chromosomes.
  • Bone marrow and fine needle aspiration biopsy. Removes a small piece of your bone and bone marrow through a needle inserted into your hipbone, breastbone or a lymph node.
  • Radiographic studies such as X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans and positron emission tomography (PET) scans. These studies take internal pictures of your body, highlighting areas of tumor infiltration.
  • Flow cytometry. Measures the number of cells in a sample, and determines certain cell characteristics such as size, shape and the presence of tumor markers.

At IU Health, our physicians have the expertise to determine the best treatment option for you to achieve long-term remission. Our hematologists and cancer physicians are highly skilled – they specialize in the treatment of multiple myeloma. They’ll work diligently to earn your trust.

Your physicians will explain all your treatment options and work with you and your family to achieve positive outcomes. You can expect your team to support you every step of the way, from your diagnosis and treatment, to your follow-up care.

Your treatments may include:

  • Chemotherapy. Destroys cancer cells with drugs.
  • Surgery. Removes the cancer, and sometimes, surrounding healthy tissue. Corrects any fractures resulting from the disease.
  • Radiotherapy. Destroys cancer cells and shrinks tumors.
  • Immunotherapy. Uses drugs that program your body’s immune system to fight cancer.
  • Monoclonal antibodies. Laboratory-produced substances that locate and bind to cancer cells in the body. They deliver drugs, toxins or radioactive material directly to a tumor.
  • Stem cell transplantation replaces bone marrow that has been destroyed by high doses of drugs or radiation treatments. Transplant material may be your own marrow (harvested before other treatment) or that of a donor.

At IU Health, you will receive compassionate care through the CompleteLife Program, which offers support and education, and tends to your emotional, mental, social and spiritual needs.

Multiple Myeloma Treatment

At IU Health, our physicians have the expertise to determine the best treatment option for you to achieve long-term remission. Our hematologists and cancer physicians are highly skilled – they specialize in the treatment of multiple myeloma. They’ll work diligently to earn your trust.

Your physicians will explain all your treatment options and work with you and your family to achieve positive outcomes. You can expect your team to support you every step of the way, from your diagnosis and treatment, to your follow-up care.

Your treatments may include:

  • Chemotherapy. Destroys cancer cells with drugs.
  • Surgery. Removes the cancer, and sometimes, surrounding healthy tissue. Corrects any fractures resulting from the disease.
  • Radiotherapy. Destroys cancer cells and shrinks tumors.
  • Immunotherapy. Uses drugs that program your body’s immune system to fight cancer.
  • Monoclonal antibodies. Laboratory-produced substances that locate and bind to cancer cells in the body. They deliver drugs, toxins or radioactive material directly to a tumor.
  • Stem cell transplantation replaces bone marrow that has been destroyed by high doses of drugs or radiation treatments. Transplant material may be your own marrow (harvested before other treatment) or that of a donor.

At IU Health, you will receive compassionate care through the CompleteLife Program, which offers support and education, and tends to your emotional, mental, social and spiritual needs.

Specialists at the IU Health Simon Cancer Center participate in blood and bone cancer research and education at the national level. Their commitment to research gives you advanced care and treatment, offering the highest level of expertise.

Evolving Multiple Myeloma Treatment Protocols

Our teams combine their unparalleled clinical expertise using cellular therapy to treat multiple myeloma with innovative, ongoing clinical trials with the IU School of Medicine. These clinical trials aim to prevent and cure this cancer using cell-based immunotherapy.

Clinical trials include:

  • An international Phase III study on CAR T-cell therapy versus a monoclonal antibody in late-stage relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma patients.
  • CAR T-cell therapy trial for early relapsed and high risk myeloma
  • A Multiple Myeloma Biobank Study with the state of Indiana that evaluates patients’ clinical, genomic and environmental data to advance clinical trials aimed at developing what could eventually be considered a cure.
  • An IU School of Medicine study, with patients at IU Health, is investigating the incidence of MGUS in obese patients to determine if weight loss following weight-reduction surgery has an effect on the protein.

    Research

    Specialists at the IU Health Simon Cancer Center participate in blood and bone cancer research and education at the national level. Their commitment to research gives you advanced care and treatment, offering the highest level of expertise.

    Evolving Multiple Myeloma Treatment Protocols

    Our teams combine their unparalleled clinical expertise using cellular therapy to treat multiple myeloma with innovative, ongoing clinical trials with the IU School of Medicine. These clinical trials aim to prevent and cure this cancer using cell-based immunotherapy.

    Clinical trials include:

    • An international Phase III study on CAR T-cell therapy versus a monoclonal antibody in late-stage relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma patients.
    • CAR T-cell therapy trial for early relapsed and high risk myeloma
    • A Multiple Myeloma Biobank Study with the state of Indiana that evaluates patients’ clinical, genomic and environmental data to advance clinical trials aimed at developing what could eventually be considered a cure.
    • An IU School of Medicine study, with patients at IU Health, is investigating the incidence of MGUS in obese patients to determine if weight loss following weight-reduction surgery has an effect on the protein.

      Patient Stories for Multiple Myeloma

      American Cancer Society

      The American Cancer Society provides information on its website dedicated to funding and conducting research, sharing expert information, supporting patients, and spreading the word about prevention.

      Medline Plus

      The National Institutes of Health presents the MedlinePlus website for patients and their families and friends, produced by the National Library of Medicine. It provides information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues.

      Resources

      American Cancer Society

      The American Cancer Society provides information on its website dedicated to funding and conducting research, sharing expert information, supporting patients, and spreading the word about prevention.

      Medline Plus

      The National Institutes of Health presents the MedlinePlus website for patients and their families and friends, produced by the National Library of Medicine. It provides information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues.