What is relapsed refractory Multiple Myeloma?
Relapse: When multiple myeloma returns
Even after an effective treatment for multiple myeloma, myeloma cells can remain in the body. Over time, these cells can start multiplying and spreading again. This can lead to the return of multiple myeloma.
Refractory: When multiple myeloma is not responding to treatment
Sometimes, multiple myeloma may not respond to treatment. At other times, a treatment may work at first, but multiple myeloma may become resistant over time and stop responding to that treatment.
What are M-proteins, and why are they important in Multiple Myeloma?
Myeloma cells make a kind of protein called "M-proteins." Tests that check for M-proteins usually look in the blood or urine. An "M-spike," or increase in the number of M-proteins, can help confirm a diagnosis of multiple myeloma.
Follow-up tests that measure M-proteins are also often done after treatment begins.
- A decrease in M-proteins during treatment may indicate that a treatment is working
- An M-spike that occurs after treatment may indicate that multiple myeloma has returned (relapse)
- An M-spike that occurs during treatment may indicate that multiple myeloma has stopped responding to that treatment (refractory)