01 December 2017

Bone marrow cancer

Bone marrow is a spongy tissue contained in the center of flat bones. It contains stem cells from which several types of blood cells develop:

· red blood cells that transport oxygen and carbon dioxide throughout the body;

· white blood cells that fight infection;

· platelets, which are involved in the formation of blood clots, preventing bleeding.

The bone marrow is constantly producing different blood cells.

The development of these blood cells from stem cells in the body occurs as needed, for example, if old cells die. There are diseases in which the growth of new blood cells goes too fast or incorrectly. The common name of these diseases is bone marrow tumors.

Types of bone marrow tumors

Bone marrow tumors are classified by the type of affected cells.

Multiple myeloma

Multiple myeloma (myeloma) is a malignant tumor of plasma cells that forms in the bone marrow. Plasma cells play an important role in the immune response of the body, they synthesize antibodies to fight foreign agents.


Leukemia (leukemia) is a group of bone marrow tumors from leukocytes. Sometimes this tumor begins to grow from other blood cells.

Acute leukemias are malignant rapidly progressing diseases. Chronic leukemia is much slower.

There are several types of leukemia:

· acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common among children and adolescents;

· acute myeloblastic leukemia (AML) is more common among the elderly, but sometimes children also get sick;

· chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) – develops from lymphocytes (varieties of leukocytes) and is more common in old age;

· chronic myelocytic leukemia (CML) is the rarest type of leukemia, the process begins in the bone marrow, and then spreads to the blood and other tissues of the body;

· chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) – develops from bone marrow cells, affects the elderly.

· childhood leukemia is a group of diseases that begin in childhood and adolescence, most often it is ALL and AML.


Lymphoma is a tumor from the cells of the lymphatic system. Diseases from this group can begin to grow in any organ, including the bone marrow.

There are two main types of lymphomas:

· Non–Hodgkin's lymphoma - grows from lymphocytes of different types, can begin in any organ;

· Hodgkin's lymphoma (lymphogranulomatosis) – also grows from lymphocytes, the difference from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is the presence of specific abnormal Reed-Sternberg cells in the affected lymph nodes.


Clinical manifestations of bone marrow cancer are determined by the type of disease, its localization and the degree of aggressiveness.

Symptoms of multiple myeloma:

· bone pain;

· frequent fractures;

· fatigue;

· frequent infections;

· changing the frequency of urination;

· feeling of confusion;

· thirst;

· nausea or vomiting;

· weight loss.

Symptoms of leukemia:

· weakness;

· fatigue;

· shortness of breath;

· fever;

· bone pain;

· weight loss;

· night sweats;

· enlargement of lymph nodes or spleen;

· frequent infections;

· pale complexion;

· frequent and gratuitous bruises;

· prolonged bleeding from small wounds;

· body aches.

Symptoms of lymphoma are similar to leukemia, but may also include:

· prolonged cough;

· skin itching;

· night sweats;

· fatigue;

· fever;

· pain in the affected lymph node after taking alcohol;

· enlarged lymph nodes;

· loss of appetite;

· abdominal pain;

· skin rashes;

· feeling of bloating due to an enlarged spleen.


Diagnostic studies for bone marrow tumors include:

·        Blood and urine tests. They make it possible to detect cancer markers, for example, a specific protein characteristic of multiple myeloma. The blood test also allows you to assess the condition of the kidneys, the electrolyte composition, in addition, the most important indicator is the number and composition of the shaped blood elements.

· Bone marrow puncture. With the help of a special needle, a flat bone is punctured and a bone marrow sample is taken, which is then examined under a microscope. This procedure is performed under anesthesia to eliminate pain.

· Radiography, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography. These studies are related to imaging, with their help you can assess the condition of the bones.


Multiple rounded foci of bone resorption of the skull on the X-ray, characteristic of multiple myeloma.

All these methods are used both in diagnosis and in the course of treatment to assess the dynamics of the disease.


The tactics of treatment of bone marrow tumors can be completely different and depends on the type of tumor, age and general condition of the patient.

The goals of treatment may vary: to completely cure cancer, prevent its spread, or simply minimize its symptoms.

If no abnormal cells are detected in the peripheral blood, it is considered that the patient is in remission.


Chemotherapy uses drugs that kill tumor cells or stop their spread. The arsenal of drugs for chemotherapy is very extensive, which allows you to choose the treatment for each patient, taking into account the characteristics of his disease.

Bone marrow transplantation

Bone marrow transplantation is the transplantation of stem cells of a healthy person to a patient. Before that, the patient undergoes chemotherapy with high doses of drugs to kill all bone marrow cells, and then donor stem cells are injected intravenously.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is exposure to radioactive radiation that kills cancer cells.

Treatment tactics are determined by the doctor after a complete diagnosis and examination of the patient. The planned plan may be adjusted depending on the course of the disease and the patient's condition.


The forecast depends on many factors. The earlier the tumor is detected, the higher the chances of a favorable outcome. Many patients with a bone marrow tumor are in remission for many years and live a full life. At the same time, they periodically take tests so that the doctor can control the disease.

In other cases, the tumor is aggressive and does not respond well to treatment.

Do not forget about the formidable complications of the tumor and treatment, such as severe infection or kidney failure.

Currently, there are many studies on bone marrow diseases. It is necessary to discuss with the attending physician various possible treatment options.

Aminat Adzhieva, portal "Eternal Youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru based on Medical News Today: Bone marrow cancer: What you need to know.

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