The most common plasma cell neoplasm is called multiple myeloma. Plasma cell neoplasms are abnormal growths in the white blood cells that produce antibodies. Antibodies are proteins in the immune system that help our bodies fight disease and infection. Some of these abnormal growths are benign, and some are cancerous. Multiple myelomas account for 1 percent (22,000 annually) of all cancers diagnosed in America.
In multiple myeloma, abnormal plasma cells build up in the bone marrow and form many bone tumors. Bone tumors can prevent our bone marrow from creating healthy blood cells. These include red cells to carry oxygen, white cells to fight infection, and platelets, which help prevent bleeding. It can damage bone strength and lead to breaks. Myeloma is not cancer of the bone but affects bones.
Other plasma cell neoplasms and related conditions:
- Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS): This condition is usually not cancerous, but can progress to multiple myeloma.
- Smoldering myeloma: Patients with smoldering myeloma have more plasma cells in the bone marrow, but no organ damage. It carries the increased risk of turning into multiple myeloma. Patients with smoldering myeloma get observed without any therapy, except in clinical trials.
- Plasmacytoma: Plasmacytoma is cancerous. It differs from multiple myeloma in that the abnormal plasma cells (myeloma cells) are in one place and form one tumor. The tumor can sometimes be removed for a cure. Plasmacytomas can be inside a bone (which can become multiple myeloma) or can occur outside the bone. When outside the bone, they typically grow in tissues of the throat, tonsil or paranasal sinuses.
- Amyloidosis: Amyloidosis occurs when too much amyloid (protein) accumulates in tissues or organs. When the amyloid protein deposits increase, it interferes with function and may cause organ failure. Systemic amyloidosis is the most common. Although amyloidosis is not cancer, it may be related to blood cancers like multiple myeloma.
Why Choose Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center?
Advanced radiation oncology tools. Sylvester is one of only five medical centers in the country with ViewRay™ — MRI-guided radiation therapy. Our RapidArc® radiotherapy system delivers intensity modulated external radiation therapy (IMRT). These tools lead to more efficient and effective treatments, shorter treatment times, pinpoint accuracy in tumor targeting, and less damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
More cancer clinical trials than any other South Florida hospital. If appropriate for your cancer and stage, our clinical trials provide you with easy access to the very newest ways to treat and potentially cure your cancer.
OnControl® bone marrow sampling device. Developed by one of our oncologists, this powered hand-held device provides for consistent bone marrow samples for diagnosis and treatment monitoring. This device obtains bone marrow samples in less than five minutes with less pain for an accurate diagnosis the first time.
All your care in one place. Many patients in our Adult Stem Cell Transplant Program come from other area hospitals. By having your blood disorder treated at Sylvester, stem cell transplant is available here, fully integrated with your cancer treatment if needed.