Complication: Infection and Low White Blood Cell Counts
Multiple Myeloma may impair the immune system, impeding the body’s ability to prevent or fight off infections. Although there is an increased level of antibodies with multiple myeloma, most of them are ineffective monoclonal antibodies, produced by myeloma cells. As a result, frequent infections such as pneumonia, urinary tract infection or shingles, are not unusual for myeloma patients. They may have reduced levels of infection-fighting white blood cells either due to myeloma therapy (for example, Revlimid, Pomalyst, or chemotherapy). In addition, the abnormal antibodies produced by myeloma cells may crowd out normal antibodies, resulting in a weakened immune system.