Myeloma is really not just one disease. It's a disease with several subtypes.
In all cases of myeloma, abnormal plasma cells produce an unusually high number of only one the types of antibodies – or immunoglobulins, as doctors often call them.
The specific type of immunoglobulins that are overproduced by cancerous plasma cells can vary from one person to the next, and determine the subtype of myeloma the patient has.
Did you know?
- When plasma cells are exposed to foreign substances (antigens), they produce different antibodies called immunoglobulins (Ig).
- Immunoglobulines are made up of two types of proteins:
- heavy chains (A, G, M, D and E)
- light chains (kappa or lambda)
- About 60% to 65% of all cases of myeloma involve the overproduction of IgG.
- When too much of the same immunoglobulin is produced, this is referred to as the monoclonoal protein (M-protein), monoclonal spike (M-spike), monoclonal peak (M-Peak) or paraprotein.
|Subtypes of myeloma|
MGUS (Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undertermined Significance)
|Asymptomatic and smouldering myeloma||
|Symptomatic or active myeloma||
For more information, dowload the Multiple Myeloma Patient Handbook
Designed to provide educational support to patients, caregivers, families, and friends, this handbook gives accurate, reliable, and clear information on myeloma. Topics cover its causes and effects, how it is diagnosed, and the treatment options available in Canada.
Download it now.