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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Multiple myeloma

Other Names for this Disease
  • Kahler disease
  • Myeloma - multiple
  • Myelomatosis
  • Plasma cell dyscrasia
  • Plasma cell myeloma
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Your Question

What is the current understanding of the risk for developing multiple myeloma among first degree relatives of an affected person? For example, if a parent has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, what is the risk to a child?

Our Answer

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What is the risk to first-degree relatives of an individual who has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma?

Multiple myeloma (MM) usually occurs incidentally within a family, and very little is known about familial and/or hereditary forms.[1][2] Several families have been reported with multiple cases of MM. The existence of hereditary MM is therefore suggested, but no causative heritable genetic mutations have been detected so far.[1] Studies have found that a person's risk of MM may be higher if a close relative had the disease.[3] First-degree relatives of individuals with MM have been reported to have a relative risk between two and four times higher than normal of developing MM; it is presumed the risks are higher for relatives in the case of familial MM (where multiple individuals have already been diagnosed).[1] MM among married couples and "community clusters" of MM have also been described, suggesting the potential importance of environmental factors in the cause of MM as well.[4]
Last updated: 4/20/2011