Causes of Multiple Myeloma

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We are yet to pinpoint the causes that lead to the appearance of multiple myeloma, but we do know which factors are involved in its development:

Erlemeyer flask and measuring cylinder

Exposure to certain chemical substances (benzene, dioxins, agrochemicals, solvents, fuels, combustion gases and cleaning products).

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Ionising radiation.

Decreased immune system cells seen under the microscope

A particularly weak immune system, as occurs in the elderly population.

Risk factors for multiple myeloma

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Old age. The risk of developing myeloma increases as we get older. In fact, most people diagnosed with this disease are over 65.

Two men and one woman

Sex. There is a slightly higher incidence of multiple myeloma in men than in women.

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Radiation. People who have been exposed to ionising radiation, have a greater risk of suffering from myeloma.



Inheritance. Myeloma seems to develop with a greater frequency in certain families, although this risk factor only corresponds to a very small proportion of cases.


Blood cells. The greatest risk of developing multiple myeloma occurs in individuals with other asymptomatic plasma cell diseases, as it has been observed that, practically, all patients with myeloma experience an early asymptomatic stage (known as smouldering or indolent myeloma).

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Substantiated information by:

Carlos Fernández de Larrea Rodríguez
Gloria Garcia Barriga

Published: 20 February 2018
Updated: 20 February 2018

The donations that can be done through this webpage are exclusively for the benefit of Hospital Clínic of Barcelona through Fundació Clínic per a la Recerca Biomèdica and not for BBVA Foundation, entity that collaborates with the project of PortalClínic.


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