Types of myeloma

There are different types of myeloma. The type of myeloma you are diagnosed with doesn’t usually change the treatment you’re offered. But it can influence how the disease will affect you.

The most common type of myeloma is IgG, followed by IgA. The least common types are IgM, IgD and IgE.

Around 1 in 3 people with myeloma have a type of myeloma that produces too many light chains. This is called light chain myeloma or Bence Jones myeloma. These light chains can affect the kidneys and are often found in the urine.

A rare type of myeloma called non-secretory myeloma produces few or no immunoglobulin chains.

Related plasma cell conditions

There are some other conditions that affect plasma cells, which are related to myeloma. These conditions can sometimes develop into myeloma. The two most common are:

Your doctor may discover you have MGUS or smouldering myeloma through a routine blood test. If you’re diagnosed with either of these conditions, your doctor will monitor you. You may not need to have any treatment unless the condition progresses and becomes active or symptomatic myeloma.

Sometimes abnormal plasma cells are found in a bone in only one area of the body. This condition is known as a solitary plasmacytoma. It is usually treated with radiotherapy. Some people with solitary plasmacytoma may go on to develop myeloma, so you’ll be regularly monitored with blood tests.

Back to Understanding myeloma

What is myeloma?

Myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells in the bone marrow. Plasma cells are a type of white blood cell.

Symptoms of myeloma

Myeloma may not cause any symptoms in the beginning, but they can develop over time.