Myeloma Tests

“What inspires and excites me about the field is knowing there are even more new therapies in development that will have a huge impact on treating this disease. It is rare in the hematology field to see a disease that has made such advances in such a short time.”
Amrita Krishnan, M.D., Director, Judy and Bernard Briskin Center for Multiple Myeloma Research

Myeloma is group of cancers with overlapping features — identifying its different forms is challenging — and since every patient’s disease looks different, getting an accurate diagnosis is important.

For these reasons, treatment at City of Hope begins with leading-edge diagnostics, performed by world-renowned hematopathologists who are well versed in knowledge about the entire spectrum of this disease. This combination of experience, next-generation technology and talent is why City of Hope is known for improved survival rates in myeloma patients, especially those in the advanced stages or were previously misdiagnosed for this disease.

How myeloma is diagnosed

Myeloma is diagnosed using various tests, including:

  • Blood and urine tests: These are usually the first tests performed for a myeloma diagnosis.
  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy: This involves taking a small sample of marrow cells from inside the bone and looking at them under a microscope

Once a diagnosis is determined, other tests may be performed to determine how much myeloma is in the body, how aggressive it is and where it is located. These include:

  • Imaging tests: PET, MRI and CT scanning
  • Genetic testing

At City of Hope, diagnosis for older patients also includes an extra layer of assessment to determine how well they can tolerate treatments like chemotherapy.