This Infosheet provides information on what smouldering myeloma is, how it is diagnosed, what the treatment is and whether it will develop into active myeloma.
Smouldering myeloma (also sometimes known as asymptomatic myeloma) is an early form of myeloma which usually progresses to active myeloma, but at a slow rate. In smouldering myeloma abnormal cells can be detected in the bone marrow, and paraprotein can be detected in the blood and/or urine, but patients usually have none of the typical symptoms related to active (symptomatic) myeloma, no organ involvement i.e. kidney failure and generally do not
To establish a correct diagnosis, tests and investigations are carried out including blood and/or urine tests, X-rays and a bone marrow biopsy.
Smouldering myeloma is related to both monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and myeloma. Like MGUS, smouldering myeloma does not usually cause any symptoms.
Smouldering myeloma does not normally cause symptoms and can be diagnosed by chance, following a routine
health check or blood tests for another condition, cancer or disease. Blood tests will show an increased level of overall protein and this will usually prompt further investigation.
Smouldering myeloma will at some point progress to active myeloma. However, the average time to progression from
asymptomatic to symptomatic myeloma varies from patient to patient and it is not possible to say exactly when this will happen in each individual.
Whether someone has progressed from smouldering to active myeloma is established through a number of factors detailed within this Infosheet.
The Infosheet describes the various treatments available for smouldering myeloma, as well as treatment for ‘high-risk’ smouldering myeloma patients.