Multiple myeloma is a rare blood cancer that arises from the plasma cells, a type of white blood cell which is made in the bone marrow. These plasma cells become abnormal, multiply and release a type of antibody known as paraprotein, which causes symptoms of the disease, including bone pain, frequent or recurring infections and fatigue, a symptom of anemia. These malignant plasma cells have the potential to cause a number of serious health problems aﬀecting the bones, immune system, kidneys and red blood cell count.1
Multiple myeloma is the second most common blood cancer2. Nearly 230,000 people around the world currently live with multiple myeloma, with approximately 114,000 new cases diagnosed globally each year3. including about 800 per year in Belgium.
Although advances in treatment have improved outcomes, multiple myeloma remains an incurable, life-threatening disease characterized by multiple relapses, with substantial burdens on patients and caregivers4.
1 Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Website. www.themmrf.org. Accessed August 2021.
2 Mateos MV, San Miguel JF. How should we treat newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients? Hematology Am
Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2013;2013:488-495.
3 International Agency for Research on Cancer. Globocan 2012: Estimated Cancer Incidence, Mortality and Prevalence in 2012. Accessible on: http:/globocan.iarc.fr/Pages/fact_sheets_population.aspx Accessed August 12, 2021.
4 Borrello, I. Can we change the disease biology of multiple myeloma? Leuk Res. 2012;36(suppl1):S3-S12.