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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Multiple myeloma

Other Names for this Disease
  • Kahler disease
  • Myeloma - multiple
  • Myelomatosis
  • Plasma cell dyscrasia
  • Plasma cell myeloma
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What causes multiple myeloma?

The exact cause of multiple myeloma is not known. However, researchers have made progress in understanding how certain changes in DNA can cause plasma cells to become cancerous. DNA is the chemical that carries the instructions for nearly everything our cells do. Myeloma cells can also show abnormalities in their chromosomes. Finally, researchers have found that individuals with plasma cell tumors can have abnormalities in other bone marrow cells, which may also cause excess plasma cell growth.[1] 

There are certin risk factors that can increase a person's change of getting multiple myeloma. These risk factors include individuals over the age of 65, males, black Americans, exposure to radiation, family history of the disease, workplace exposures, obesity, and/or having another plasma cell disease.[1] 
Last updated: 7/6/2011

  1. Multiple Myeloma. American Cancer Society. Accessed 7/6/2011.