Multiple Myeloma Diagnosis

It’s important for multiple myeloma to be accurately and precisely diagnosed as there are a couple different strains of myeloma, including the rare light chain multiple myeloma.  To give you every advantage in treating multiple myeloma, Banner MD Anderson’s specialized experts use the most advanced equipment with the highest level of skill.

We’re one of the few cancer centers with the ability to use genetic testing to examine your bone marrow to determine exactly how to treat multiple myeloma. This often means higher rates of success in treatment, as well as less impact on the body.

If you have symptoms that may signal multiple myeloma, your doctor will examine you and ask you questions about your health and your medical history. One or more of the following tests may be used to find out if you have multiple myeloma and if it has spread. These tests also may be used to find out if treatment is working.

  • Blood and urine tests determine calcium levels and changes in abnormal proteins that multiple myeloma produces. In the blood, these proteins are called paraproteins. A test called serum protein electrophoresis (SPEP) measures paraproteins. In the urine, these proteins are called Bence-Jones proteins. They are measured by collecting a 24-hour urine sample and running a urine protein electrophoresis (UPEP).
    • A blood test called an immunofixation (IFE) test, may help find small traces of abnormal proteins.
  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy
  • Biopsy: Multiple myeloma can cause tumors called plasmacytomas in the bone or soft tissue around the bone. These tumors may be biopsied.
  • Imaging tests, which may include:
    • X-rays
    • Bone density scans
    • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans
    • PET (positron emission tomography) scans
    • CT or CAT (computed axial tomography) scans