Management of multiple myeloma in pregnancy: strategies for a rare challenge

Clin Lymphoma Myeloma Leuk. 2011 Apr;11(2):190-7. doi: 10.1016/j.clml.2011.03.009. Epub 2011 Apr 9.


Multiple myeloma is the second most commonly diagnosed hematologic malignancy. It is characterized by the accumulation of monoclonal plasma cells. It typically manifests in the sixth decade of life or later, whereas the incidence in patients who are younger than 40 years old is extremely rare. Here, we report the case of a 34-year-old prima gravida, diagnosed with a κ light-chain myeloma (Durie&Salmon stage IIIA, International Staging System I) in the 23rd week of pregnancy. Our multimodal therapeutic approach during pregnancy, the delivery of a healthy male, and initiation of intensive anti-myeloma treatment thereafter (induction with bortezomib, cyclophosphamide, and dexamethasone, followed by tandem autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation) are described. Furthermore, we provide a comprehensive review of all 18 cases published between 1965 and 2010 in which a multiple myeloma was diagnosed and treated following different regimes and approaches before, during, or shortly after pregnancy. All delivered newborns were healthy, whereas the mothers' outcomes varied strongly. In our specific case, complete remission was achieved after tandem autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation. Emerging from these literature data and our case, we conclude that while awaiting delivery, the application of prednisolone as a nontoxic, but active anti-myeloma therapy can be recommended. Intensified postpartum anti-myeloma therapy should be induced as soon as possible to efficiently reduce myeloma burden and avoid organ damage in these young females.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Multiple Myeloma / complications
  • Multiple Myeloma / diagnosis
  • Multiple Myeloma / genetics
  • Multiple Myeloma / pathology
  • Multiple Myeloma / therapy*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic / pathology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome