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Incidence of myeloma and plasmacytoma

Malignant plasma cells
Malignant plasma cells

Incidence and predisposing factors

Multiple myeloma is a disease caused by a malignant clone of plasma cells; the lineage of bone marrow cells that physiologically have the function of making antibodies (the immune serum proteins that attach to specific foreign proteins and allow their immune destruction). There are several types of antibody, all of them immunoglobulins (Ig A,D,E,G, and M) but only IgA,D,G, and M, need to be considered in this context.


Multiple myeloma accounts for 1% of cancer in the UK with 3000 cases per year, with a slightly higher incidence in the Afro-Caribean population. There is a slight male preponderance of the disease. The mean age of clinical presentation is 70 years and the incidence seems to be slightly increasing in recent years.


The photo shows a cluster of malignant plasma cells from a bone marrow sample, taken from a patient with myeloma and viewed (after staining of a smear on a microscope slide) under the high power of a microscope.

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