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What is smoldering multiple myeloma?

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Smoldering multiple myeloma is a condition where there are abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow, but the person does not suffer from any ill effects such as high calcium levels, kidney failure, anemia or bone lesions, states the International Myeloma Foundation. The diagnosis is largely based on laboratory findings.

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Full Answer

Smoldering multiple myeloma is diagnosed when the concentration of monoclonal or M protein is greater than 3 grams per liter, there are 10 percent or more abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow, and there are no signs or symptoms of end-organ damage, according to the International Myeloma Foundation. M proteins are proteins produced by the abnormal plasma cells and can be found in the blood and urine.

For people who have end-organ damage, the diagnosis is multiple myeloma. For people who have no end-organ damage, and who have M protein levels less than 3 grams per liter with less than 10 percent abnormal plasma cells, the diagnosis is monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, reports the International Myeloma Foundation. Patients with smoldering multiple myeloma need to be followed up because they are at increased risk of developing multiple myeloma. Patients with multiple myeloma may develop bone lesions, kidney failure, anemia and high calcium levels, which require treatment.

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