Diagnosing and treating multiple myeloma is a complex process that demands a thorough understanding of the disease and the utilization of various procedures, tests, and treatment modalities.
The key to the effective management of multiple myeloma lies in choosing the right specialist. As one of the best multiple myeloma treatment hospitals in India, HCG Cancer Hospital aims to deliver the highest quality care for multiple myeloma patients and help them receive treatment and care that is specially designed as per their requirements and preferences.
Doctors recommend various tests to diagnose multiple myeloma accurately. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, further tests are recommended for the staging of multiple myeloma.
Blood tests can detect abnormal proteins produced by myeloma cells. Urine tests measure the presence of these proteins, known as M proteins or Bence Jones proteins. These tests help confirm the myeloma diagnosis and monitor disease progression.
For a multiple myeloma diagnosis, blood tests are often recommended along with other tests.
X-rays can reveal bone abnormalities or fractures associated with myeloma. They are useful for assessing the extent of bone damage caused by the disease.
Imaging scans are recommended to obtain detailed pictures of the bones and organs to assess the extent of the disease. Along with diagnosing multiple myeloma accurately, these imaging tests help in its staging and treatment planning, too.
CT scan is an advanced imaging technique recommended for multiple myeloma diagnosis, wherein X-ray beams are used to produce 3D images of the internal structures. A CT scan is often recommended to obtain detailed images of the bone lesions caused by multiple myeloma.
MRI scan is recommended for multiple myeloma diagnosis, as this imaging technique offers better quality soft tissue contrast resolution. This imaging technique also helps evaluate painful lesions and spinal cord compression.
A bone marrow biopsy involves the removal of a small sample of bone marrow, which is then examined under a microscope for the presence of cancerous cells. This procedure helps specialists confirm multiple myeloma diagnosis and provides valuable information about the disease's aggressiveness.
These tests analyze the genetic makeup of myeloma cells, which can influence treatment decisions. Understanding the genetic abnormalities can help tailor treatment to the patient's specific case.
Positron emission tomography (PET) scans can identify areas with increased metabolic activity, which can be indicative of myeloma lesions. They are valuable for detecting active disease sites. Often, PET scans are combined with CT scans for more detailed information pertaining to the diagnosis, staging, and treatment planning.
Biomarker testing helps identify specific characteristics of myeloma cells, guiding treatment choices. It can identify potential targets for precision therapies. In some cases, this is one of the important tests for multiple myeloma diagnosis.
Cytogenetic tests assess the genetic abnormalities, or mutations, in myeloma cells, which can help in exploring the different treatment options available for a particular case and studying the prognosis.
Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) is a specialized multiple myeloma diagnostic test that examines specific genetic changes associated with myeloma. The observations from FISH impact the treatment planning and disease prognosis.
MRD testing detects tiny amounts of myeloma cells that may remain after treatment, helping assess treatment response and the risk of relapse.
The treatment landscape for multiple myeloma has evolved significantly in recent years, offering a range of options tailored to each patient's unique needs. At HCG, multiple myeloma is treated with a multidisciplinary and comprehensive approach, wherein specialists from various disciplines come together to diagnose multiple myeloma accurately and devise personalized treatment plans that are personalized and patient-centric. The following are some of the most important multiple myeloma cancer treatments:
Pain management is a crucial aspect of multiple myeloma treatment. Patients often experience bone pain, which can be alleviated with over-the-counter or prescription pain medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and opioids may be prescribed to manage pain effectively.
Infections can pose a significant risk to multiple myeloma patients, particularly those with compromised immune systems. Antibiotics are prescribed to treat and prevent bacterial infections. Prophylactic antibiotics may also be recommended to reduce the risk of infection.
Steroids, such as dexamethasone or prednisone, are often included in myeloma treatment regimens. They have anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce myeloma-related symptoms. Steroids may be administered orally or intravenously.
Chemotherapy involves the use of powerful drugs to target and destroy myeloma cells. It can be administered in various forms, including oral medications and intravenous infusions. Multiple myeloma chemotherapy regimens are tailored to each patient's individual requirements and may involve a combination of drugs.
Immunotherapy is one of the latest multiple myeloma treatments. Immunotherapy works by re-engineering the patient's immune system to recognize and launch an attack on myeloma cells. Monoclonal antibodies and checkpoint inhibitors are administered as part of immunotherapy for multiple myeloma management.
A stem cell transplant, also known as a bone marrow transplant, is also one of the most recommended multiple myeloma treatments. It involves the transplantation of healthy stem cells into the bone marrow to replace cancerous bone marrow cells. High-dose chemotherapy is administered before the transplant to eradicate myeloma cells.
Thalidomide, often used in combination with other multiple myeloma medications, inhibits myeloma cell growth and reduces blood vessel formation in tumors.
Bortezomib is a proteasome inhibitor. As one of the multiple myeloma treatment drugs, it disrupts the function of myeloma cells, leading to their death.
Bisphosphonates are medications that strengthen bones and reduce the risk of fractures. They are particularly recommended for patients with myeloma-related bone involvement. These drugs help maintain bone health and minimize the complications associated with bone damage.
Radiation therapy is employed to target specific myeloma-related bone lesions. It can effectively relieve pain and reduce the size of localized tumors. Radiation therapy is a localized treatment and is often used when myeloma has caused significant bone damage.
Plasma exchange, or plasmapheresis, may be recommended as a supportive treatment for patients with high levels of abnormal proteins (M proteins) in their blood, particularly when these proteins lead to kidney damage. This procedure removes and replaces the patient's plasma to alleviate symptoms.
Palliative care focuses on improving the quality of life for multiple myeloma patients, managing symptoms, and providing emotional and psychological support. It can be integrated into the overall treatment plan to enhance well-being.
Targeted therapies are designed to specifically target myeloma cells while sparing healthy cells. The medications administered as a part of targeted therapy involve targeting specific molecular structures present in myeloma cells and the cellular pathways that are responsible for the growth of myeloma cells to stop them from growing further. They are often used in combination with other treatments to enhance efficacy.
Proteasome inhibitors are administered as part of targeted therapy for multiple myeloma.
Proteasome inhibitors target specialized enzymes called proteasomes, which are involved in breaking down damaged and unnecessary proteins within myeloma cells. By binding to this enzyme, proteasome inhibitors cause the accumulation of unwanted proteins, which will eventually lead to the death of myeloma cells.
Monoclonal antibodies are a well-known form of targeted therapy. When administered, these monoclonal antibodies may directly bind to the myeloma cells and destroy them or flag them for destruction by other immune cells.
When nuclear export inhibitors are administered as a part of targeted therapy, they block the export of protein molecules from the nucleus to the cytoplasm of myeloma cells. This will lead to excessive protein accumulation in the nucleus and eventually cell death.
BCMA is a protein present on the surface of myeloma cells. When administered as targeted therapy, the BCMA targeting agent binds to BCMA and leads to the death of myeloma cells or flags them for destruction by other immune cells.
Bispecific T-cell engagers are a form of targeted therapy, and they work by binding to a T-cell and myeloma cell simultaneously. This cross-link causes the T-cell to attack the myeloma cells and kill them.
HCG, with its expertise and state-of-the-art facilities, is a leading cancer hospital in India, and it provides comprehensive care for multiple myeloma patients. Our multidisciplinary approach ensures that patients receive personalized treatment plans and access to the latest advancements in myeloma care. We prioritize patient well-being, safety, and positive treatment outcomes.
In conclusion, multiple myeloma diagnosis and treatment are complex processes that require a team of skilled healthcare professionals. With the right diagnosis and a tailored treatment plan, many myeloma patients can achieve remission and an improved quality of life.