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Multiple Myeloma Diagnosis

It’s important for multiple myeloma to be accurately and precisely diagnosed. To give you every advantage in treating multiple myeloma, MD Anderson’s specialized experts us the most advanced equipment with the highest level of skill.

We’re one of the few cancer centers with the ability to use genetic testing to examine your bone marrow to determine exactly how to treat multiple myeloma. This often means higher rates of success in treatment, as well as less impact on the body.

Multiple Myeloma Diagnosis

If you have symptoms that may signal multiple myeloma, your doctor will examine you and ask you questions about your health and your medical history. One or more of the following tests may be used to find out if you have multiple myeloma and if it has spread. These tests also may be used to find out if treatment is working.

Blood and urine tests determine calcium levels and changes in abnormal proteins that multiple myeloma produces. In the blood, these proteins are called paraproteins. A test called serum protein electrophoresis (SPEP) measures paraproteins. In the urine, these proteins are called Bence-Jones proteins. They are measured by collecting a 24-hour urine sample and running a urine protein electrophoresis (UPEP).

A blood test called an immunofixation (IFE) test, may help find small traces of abnormal proteins.

Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy

Biopsy: Multiple myeloma can cause tumors called plasmacytomas in the boneor soft tissue around the bone. These tumors may be biopsied.

Imaging tests, which may include:

  • X-rays
  • Bone density scans
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans
  • PET (positron emission tomography) scans
  • CT or CAT (computed axial tomography) scans

If you have been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, we’re here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • Personalized multiple myeloma treatments, including vaccine and cytokine therapies, monoclonal antibodies and liposomal drug delivery
  • Genetic testing to pinpoint myeloma, increase likelihood of successful treatment
  • Advanced myeloma treatments with least impact on your body
  • One of the largest teams of experts focused on myeloma
  • Nationally recognized research program offers clinical trials of new therapies

Multiple Myeloma Knowledge Center

Treatment at MD Anderson

Multiple myeloma is treated in our:

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Multiple Myeloma Staging

If you are diagnosed with multiple myeloma, your doctor will determine the stage of the disease. Staging is a way of determining how much disease is in the body and where it has spread. This information helps the doctor plan the best treatment. Once the staging classification is determined, it stays the same even if treatment is successful or the cancer spreads.

Multiple Myeloma Stages

(source: National Cancer Institute)

The International Staging System is used to determine the stage of multiple myeloma. It is based on two blood tests, the serum albumin and the serum Beta 2 microglobulin (β2M).

Stage I: Albumin ≥ 3.5 g/dL and β2M < 3.5 mg/L

Stage II: Albumin < 3.5 g/dL and β2M < 3.5 mg/L; or β2M ≥ 3.5 mg/L and < 5.5 mg/L

Stage III: β2M ≥ 5.5 mg/L

Getting a Second Opinion at MD Anderson

The pathologists at MD Anderson are highly specialized in diagnosing and staging multiple myeloma. We welcome the opportunity to provide second opinions for this type of cancer.

If you would like to get a second opinion at MD Anderson, call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center