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Staging and prognostic studies in multiple myeloma

S Vincent Rajkumar, MD
Section Editor
Robert A Kyle, MD
Deputy Editor
Rebecca F Connor, MD


Plasma cell myeloma is characterized by the neoplastic proliferation of a single clone of plasma cells producing a monoclonal immunoglobulin and can present as a single lesion (solitary plasmacytoma) or multiple lesions (multiple myeloma). This clone of plasma cells proliferates in the bone marrow and often results in extensive skeletal destruction with osteolytic lesions, osteopenia, and/or fractures.

This topic review will discuss the staging and prognostic studies used in multiple myeloma. The pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and the different modalities used for therapy are discussed separately. (See "Pathobiology of multiple myeloma" and "Clinical features, laboratory manifestations, and diagnosis of multiple myeloma" and "Overview of the management of multiple myeloma".)


Multiple myeloma (MM) is a heterogeneous disease with some patients progressing rapidly despite treatment, and others not requiring therapy for a number of years (figure 1). The prognosis of patients with myeloma, as in most other cancers, is dependent on four key factors:

Staging (tumor burden)

Patient factors (host characteristics)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jan 27, 2017.
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