Multiple Myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells, also known as activated B cells, capable of producing a monoclonal line of globulins. This cancer is frequently seen in populations in risk of radioactivity, for example in sites of nuclear explosions. MM is seen in old people, reaching its peak at 70. Males are slightly more hit than females.
Five common complications:
Bone lesions: Bones are frequently the first site of lesion in the body. Cancerous cells can either line up inside the bone tissue, causing fragility and fractures, or produce cytokines that activate the Osteoclasts. Osteoclasts are cells that cause bone reabsorbtion, in order to keep the calcium homeostasis. In normal ground, Osteoclasts have their counterpart, the Osteoblast, that build bone tissue. If Osteoclasts work lot more than Osteoblasts, the bones become faulty, risking the fractures even in no trauma at all.
Recurrent Infections: Multiple Myeloma can cause severe infections, because of the way the immunity functions. Normally, the antibodies have polyclonal antigen binding sites, being able to fight a very wide range of risky agents. In MM, only one clone of antibodies is produced, and during the time, the other clones already produced start to fall in number. Thus the infections start, and if not controlled can lead to death.
Chronic Kidney Failure: It is a very frequent complication in patients with MM. CKF has a number of factors, like:
- Hypercalcaemia from bone reabsorption
- Amyloid deposits
- Recurrent infections
- Cancer cells infiltrating the kidneys
Anemia: Patients with MM have frequently a Normocytic and Normochromic anemia. This means that the anemia is caused by a reduced number of blood cells. The factors that can lead to this type of anemia are:
- Bone marrow infiltration by the cancerous cells
- Cytokines produced by MM cells, interfere with the blood production
Neurological signs: Rarely seen, this symptoms can be: Lethargy, Confusion, Coma. High calcium in blood can be a causal factor.