What is smouldering 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 abnormal protein can be detected in the blood and/or urine. However, smouldering myeloma patients usually have none of the typical symptoms related to active (symptomatic) myeloma and generally do not require treatment.
Smouldering myeloma patients are monitored regularly for signs that may indicate progression to active myeloma.
How is smouldering myeloma diagnosed?
Smouldering myeloma does not normally cause symptoms and can be diagnosed by chance, following a routine health check or blood tests for another condition. Blood tests will show an increased level of overall protein and this will usually prompt further investigation.
To establish a correct diagnosis, various tests and investigations are carried out including blood and/ or urine tests, imaging tests and a bone marrow biopsy.
What is the treatment for smouldering myeloma?
Currently, smouldering myeloma is not generally treated until active myeloma develops. This is because, for the majority of patients, the benefit of treatment is outweighed by its risks due to potential side-effects.