Multiple Myeloma Glossary

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Here are definitions for some of the terms used when discussing multiple myeloma.

Allergic reaction

The body’s overreaction to a typically harmless substance called an allergen. Anything can be an allergen.

Antibody

A protein produced by plasma cells that helps protect the body from infection and disease.

CD38

A protein found on the surface of certain cells and in high numbers on myeloma cells.

Chemotherapy

A chemical drug that stops the growth of cancer cells, either by killing them or by stopping them from dividing. Chemotherapy may be given by mouth, injection or infusion, or on the skin, depending on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. It may be given alone or with other treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy, or biologic therapy.

Combination therapy

Use of more than one medicine to treat a certain disease or condition.

Complete response

When the doctor observed no signs or symptoms of the disease as seen through imaging or other specific blood and bone marrow tests after treatment.

Disease progression

Cancer continuing to grow or spread.

DNA

Deoxyribonucleic acid, the main component of chromosomes, and the carrier of genetic information.

Erythema

Reddening of the skin.

Formulation

The way in which different ingredients are combined to make a medicine.

Hyaluronidase

An ingredient that helps to disperse fluid and/or medicine throughout the body.

Immune system

Several types of cells and organs that work together to help the body fight infections and other diseases.

Immunomodulatory agents

Drugs that change a patient’s immune response by enhancing or suppressing the immune system.

Immunotherapy

Drugs that stimulate the immune system to help treat or prevent disease.

Injection reaction

A response of the skin and subcutaneous tissues to any substance introduced with a needle.

Intravenous (IV) infusion

Medicines or other fluids given via a needle inserted into a vein in your arm.

Monoclonal antibody

Therapeutic monoclonal antibodies that are man-made and are designed to work with your immune system to treat disease.

Monotherapy

Use of one type of medicine to treat a certain disease or condition.

M-protein

An antibody made in abnormal quantities by myeloma cells.

Multiple myeloma

A type of cancer formed by cancerous (also called “malignant”) plasma cells. Plasma cells are mainly found in the bone marrow.

Proteasome inhibitors

Drugs that slow down cancer cell growth by interfering with processes that play a role in cell function.

Protein

A molecule made up of amino acids that is needed for the body to function properly. Proteins are the basis of skin, hair, and other substances in the body.

Regimen

A plan for treating a condition, such as multiple myeloma. A treatment regimen may use only one medication or it may use several medications together.

Response in multiple myeloma

A measurement made during or after treatment that measures the decrease in the extent of myeloma disease in response to treatment.

Side effect

An unwanted or unexpected reaction to a drug. Side effects can vary from minor problems like a headache or runny nose to life-threatening events, such as an increased risk of a heart attack. Sometimes referred to as an adverse event.

Stem cell

A cell that grows and divides to produce red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Stem cells are found in bone marrow and blood.

Subcutaneous injection

An injection into the fatty tissue usually below the skin of the stomach that uses a needle.