Multiple myeloma

Lancet. 2004 Mar 13;363(9412):875-87. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(04)15736-X.


Multiple myeloma is a malignant disease of plasma cells that manifests as one or more of lytic bone lesions, monoclonal protein in the blood or urine, and disease in the bone marrow. Treatment for myeloma has changed beyond recognition in the past decade, and now includes state of the art supportive treatment and infusional chemotherapy courses, followed for younger patients by high-dose melphalan and an autologous transplant. Patients younger than 70 years can now expect a doubling of median survival to 5 years, a 20% chance of surviving longer than 10 years, and a 50% chance of attaining complete morphological and biochemical remission. Bisphosphonate control of bone disease is essential. Exploitation of the understanding of the biology of myeloma has led to the development of biological treatments, such as thalidomide, CC-5013, and bortezomib, which target the myeloma cell and the bone-marrow microenvironment, which plays a crucial part in the disease's pathogenesis. These treatments will hold the key to future success.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / therapeutic use
  • Dexamethasone / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melphalan / therapeutic use
  • Multiple Myeloma* / diagnosis
  • Multiple Myeloma* / drug therapy
  • Multiple Myeloma* / genetics
  • Self-Help Groups
  • Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Survival Analysis
  • Transplantation, Autologous


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
  • Dexamethasone
  • Melphalan