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Multiple Myeloma and Other Plasma Cell Disorders: Learning Objectives

Medical Importance

Plasma cell abnormalities are a heterogeneous group of diseases characterized by production of monoclonal immunoglobulin molecules. The clinical course of patients with this group of disorders ranges from indolent to life threatening. It is critical to distinguish patients for whom long-term observation is appropriate from those who have an aggressive disease that mandates immediate therapy.


  1. Identify the general structure of an immunoglobulin molecule, including the light chains and heavy chains, the constant and variable regions, the Fab and Fc fragments, and the differences between the various immunoglobulin classes.
  2. Name the major criteria used to diagnose multiple myeloma.
  3. Describe at least five complications that may occur in patients with multiple myeloma.
  4. Describe the pathophysiology of renal failure in patients with multiple myeloma.
  5. Describe the pathophysiology, x-ray appearance, complications, and treatment of bone abnormalities in multiple myeloma.
  6. Describe indications for therapy, treatment, and prognostic indicators for patients with multiple myeloma.
  7. Define the diagnostic criteria, incidence, and clinical course of patients with monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance.
  8. Define amyloid and indicate two proteins that can cause amyloid deposition in tissues.
  9. Describe the clinical features and prognosis of patients with primary amyloidosis.