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Multiple myeloma

ICD-10 C90
2017

¹ per 100,000 persons, age-standardised according to the old European standard population

* calculated using the period method for 2015 / 2016

WomenMen
Incidence3,1803,675
Age-standardised incidence rate¹4.05.7
Deaths1,8512,287
Age-standardised mortality rate¹1.93.2
5-year prevalence9,20011,200
10-year prevalence13,40016,000
Relative 5-year survival rate*49 %49 %
Relative 10-year survival rate*31 %33 %

Multiple myeloma and plasma cell neoplasms are malignant proliferations of antibody-producing plasma cells. This type of cancer usually first occurs in the bone marrow, where it often forms several disease foci (multiple myeloma) with corresponding complications such as bone fractures and pain or blood count changes. Only about 1 percent of cases are diagnosed in organs outside the bone marrow (extramedullary plasmacytoma).

In 2017, multiple myeloma was diagnosed in about 3,180 women and 3,675 men in Germany. Disease risk increases significantly with age; diagnoses before the age of 45 are extremely rare (about 2 percent of all cases). Recent age-standardised incidence and mortality rates among women and men have been fairly constant.

Age-standardised incidence and mortality rates by sex, ICD-10 C90, Germany 1999 – 2016/2017, projection (incidence) through 2020, per 100,000 (old European standard population). Source: © German Centre for Cancer Registry Data at the Robert Koch Institute Age-standardised incidence and mortality rates by sex, ICD-10 C90, Germany 1999 – 2016/2017, projection (incidence) through 2020, per 100,000 (old European standard population)

With relative 5-year survival rates of 49 percent for both women and men, the prognosis is rather unfavourable. Generally, a permanent cure is not to be expected. However, the disease can show few symptoms for a relatively long time, and temporary remissions are possible under therapy.

Few established risk factors

The causes of multiple myeloma are still largely unknown. A monoclonal gammopathy of unclear significance (MGUS) is considered a precursor of multiple myeloma. Other recognised risk factors for multiple myeloma are advanced age, male gender and family history of multiple myeloma.

Despite the observed family clustering, heredity has not yet been proven with certainty. Differences in frequency in different population groups also suggest that genetics plays a role.

Chronic infections, such as HIV infection or hepatitis C virus infection, are associated with an increased risk of multiple myeloma. Recent study data also suggest that being overweight is associated with an increased risk.

There is contradictory evidence as to whether certain lifestyle habits, exposure to environmental toxins or radiation influence the risk of multiple myeloma.

Date: 22.04.2021

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