Diagnosis Hematology & Blood & Marrow Transplant (BMT)

Multiple Myeloma

The diagnosis of multiple myeloma is often made incidentally during routine blood tests for other conditions. For example, the existence of anemia and a high serum protein may suggest further testing.

A number of laboratory tests and medical procedures are performed to help confirm a diagnosis of multiple myeloma. Many of these tests also are used to assess the extent of the disease as well as to plan and monitor treatment.

  • X-rays All patients need to have X-rays to see if any bones are damaged or broken.
  • Blood and Urine Tests Samples of the patient's blood and urine are checked to see whether they contain high levels of antibody proteins, called M proteins.
  • Bone Marrow Aspiration and/or Biopsy The doctor also will perform these procedures to check for myeloma cells. During an aspiration, the doctor inserts a needle into the hip or breast bone to withdraw a sample of fluid and cells from the bone marrow. During a biopsy, the doctor uses a needle to remove a sample of solid tissue from the marrow. A pathologist then examines the samples under a microscope to determine whether myeloma cells are present.

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.