Anemia and Myelosuppression - Multiple Myeloma Center for Nurses

Anemia and Myelosuppression

Anemia and Myelosuppression

Anemia is a myeloma-defining event and one of several myelosuppressive effects that can occur in patients.1,2

More than 70% of myeloma patients are anemic at diagnosis and most patients will have anemia during the course of their disease.2

Signs and Symptoms

  • Myelosuppression occurs when the production of healthy blood cells is compromised due to the proliferation of malignant plasma cells and production of ineffective M-protein.3,4 This can result in neutropenia (low neutrophil counts) and thrombocytopenia (low platelet counts), in addition to anemia (low red blood cell counts). Certain antimyeloma treatments can also reduce blood cells counts2
  • This compromised immune function can put patients with myeloma at higher risk for infection and cause a number of potentially serious and sometimes fatal symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, hemorrhaging, and chest pain2,5


  1. Rajkumar SV, Dimopoulos MA, Palumbo A, et al. International Myeloma Working Group updated criteria for the diagnosis of multiple myeloma. Lancet Oncol. 2014;15(12):e538-e548.
  2. Brigle K, Pierre A, Finley-Oliver E, Faiman B, Tariman JD, Miceli T; International Myeloma Foundation Nurse Leadership Board. Myelosuppression, bone disease, and acute renal failure: evidence-based recommendations for oncologic emergencies. Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2017;21(5 suppl):60-76.
  3. Terpos E, Kleber M, Engelhardt M, et al; the European Myeloma Network. European Myeloma Network guidelines for the management of multiple myeloma-related complications. Haematologica. 2015;100(10):1254-1266.
  4. Durie BGM. Patient handbook. 2018 ed. International Myeloma Foundation website. Accessed May 13, 2021.
  5. Tricot G. Clinical manifestations. In: Hoffman R, Furie B, Benz EJ, McGlave P, Silberstein LE, Shattil SJ. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 5th ed. New York, NY: Churchill Livingstone; 2008.