Multiple myeloma glossary

Here are definitions for some of the terms used when discussing multiple myeloma.
Click on the term to see the definition.

A procedure in which stem cells collected from another person are transplanted into a patient.

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

A procedure in which stem cells collected from a patient are transplanted back into that patient. This is the most common type of transplant performed in multiple myeloma.

When the level of plasma cells in the bone marrow is no more than 5%, there is no evidence of myeloma proteins in the serum or urine, and all signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared (though cancer still may be in the body).

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

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

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

An adverse reaction seen with some drugs that are given intravenously. Symptoms may include coughing, wheezing, trouble breathing, tightness in the throat, a runny or stuffy nose, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, headache, rash, and nausea.

A way of giving medicines or other fluids by inserting them into the bloodstream through a needle or tube in a vein.

The presence of small numbers of multiple myeloma cells during or after treatment, even when the patient shows no symptoms or signs of disease.

A man-made molecule that binds to substances in the body, including cancer cells.

An abnormal antibody found in large quantities in the blood and urine of individuals with myeloma.

When there is a greater than 50% decrease in M protein and disappearance of some (but not all) signs and symptoms of cancer.

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

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

The return or worsening of a disease that had previously responded to therapy.

A measure by which an improvement related to treatment is determined by a healthcare professional or clinical trial.

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

A type of multiple myeloma characterized by M protein and slightly increased numbers of plasma cells in the bone marrow and an absence of symptoms. Patients with SMM are monitored and only treated if their disease progresses. About 5% of myeloma patients have SMM.

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.

A treatment outcome in which there is a greater than 90% decrease in M protein.