IN THIS ARTICLE
How Do Doctors Determine Myeloma Staging?
Like most cancers, myeloma is classified into various groups based on the extent of disease, how fast it is progressing, the type and amount of abnormal protein produced, and the types of symptoms and complications. Staging is important because it helps the specialist determine the optimal timing of treatment, the best type of treatment, and the outlook for remission and survival for each individual with myeloma. The types of plasma cells disorders are as follows:
As with all cancers, a system to define the extent of disease, which is important for making treatment decisions and predicting outcomes, has been designated as "staging."
In myeloma, staging has traditionally been based upon the following criteria: level of hemoglobin (RBC level), degree of M protein elevation, serum calcium levels, and the presence of bone lytic lesions. Early stage disease is deemed to be stage I, while extensive disease is deemed stage III. Intermediate findings suggest stage II disease (Durie-Salmon staging). Recently, a newer International Staging System has proposed the use of serum beta-2 microglobulin and albumin levels to determine stages I to III, suggesting that such markers may more accurately define treatment decisions and, potentially, outcome.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/1/2016
Jay B. Zatzkin, MD
Must Read Articles Related to Myeloma
Patient Comments & Reviews
The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Myeloma:
Myeloma - Treatment
What was the treatment for your myeloma?
Myeloma - Prevention and Outlook
What prevention measures do you use to avoid getting myeloma?
Myeloma - Experience
Please describe your experience with myeloma.
Multiple Myeloma - Symptoms
The symptoms of multiple myeloma can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?