Multiple MyelomaMultiple Myeloma Causes

Let's Talk About Multiple Myeloma Causes

Who gets this blood cancer and why is the million dollar question—and unfortunately, we still don’t have the million dollar answer on that. But certain factors can raise your risk. Here's what you need to know.

    Our Pro PanelMultiple Myeloma Causes

    We went to some of the nation's top experts in multiple myeloma to bring you the most up-to-date information possible.

    Cindy Varga, M.D. headshot.

    Cindy Varga, M.D.Medical Oncologist, Assistant Professor

    Tufts Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine
    Boston, MA
    Myo Htut, M.D. headshot.

    Myo Htut, M.D.Associate Clinical Professor of Hematology

    City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
    Duarte, CA
    Faisal Saghir, M.D. headshot.

    Faisal Saghir, M.D.Hematologist and Medical Oncologist

    Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital
    DeKalb, IL

    Frequently Asked QuestionsMultiple Myeloma Causes

    Is multiple myeloma curable?

    No, at least not yet. But it is treatable. Many new treatments have been discovered in the last decade, and some doctors are starting to call it a “chronic” condition that can be managed successfully for years.

    Is multiple myeloma the same as Kahler disease?

    Yes. Multiple myeloma used to be known as Kahler (or Kahler’s) disease. It was named after Otto Kahler, the doctor who first discovered it in 1889. Other names for multiple myeloma are myelomatosis and plasma cell myeloma.

    What gene causes multiple myeloma?

    There is no single gene that causes multiple myeloma. But changes in certain genes in blood plasma cells over a person’s lifetime are linked to the disease. Specifically, changes in specific oncogenes that trigger cell growth (MYC and RAS) and tumor suppressor genes (p53) that slow cell growth are correlated with multiple myeloma.

    Does race or gender raise your risk for multiple myeloma?

    Yes. Men are at a higher risk of developing the disease than women, and African Americans are twice as likely to get MM as white Americans. African Americans account for about 20% of multiple myeloma cases, even though they make up only 13 percent of the overall population in this country.

    Sunny Sea Gold

    Sunny Sea Gold


    Sunny is a health journalist, book author, and essayist living in Portland, OR.