A white blood cell called a plasma cell is abnormal. The bone can be affected by plasmyocytoma.

Plasmacytoma is rare. For example, plasmacytoma of the bone is the most common type and only makes up about 2 to 5 percent of all malignancies affecting plasma cells.

You can learn more about the symptoms and how to diagnose and treat it.

A plasmacytoma is a cancerous tumor made of abnormal plasma cells. Plasma cells are a type of white blood cell derived from immune cells called B cells. The normal function of plasma cells is to make antibodies to fight infections.

There is one tumor in the case of plasmacytoma. This is why you will often see it referred to as solitary.

Over time, it’s possible for plasmacytoma to progress to multiple myeloma. This is a type of cancer where abnormal plasma cells form many tumors in the bone marrow.

“There are two types of the disease. Let’s look at them.”

Solitary plasmacytoma of bone (SPB)

In SPB, the plasmacytoma comes from plasma cells in the bone marrow. It’s the most common type of plasmacytoma.

There are two additional subtypes of SPB. The abnormal cells are also present outside of the plasmacytoma.

  • SPB with no bone marrow involvement. This is when there are no abnormal plasma cells outside of the plasmacytoma.
  • SPB with minimal bone marrow involvement. This is where less than 10 percent of bone marrow cells outside of the plasmacytoma are abnormal plasma cells.

Extramedullary plasmacytoma (EMP)

In EMP, the plasmacytoma develops from plasma cells present outside of the bones. They make up about one-third of all plasmacytomas.

The head and neck region is where most of the EMPs are found. They may also develop in other tissues.

The symptoms of a type of plasmacytoma can be different.

Solitary plasmacytoma of bone (SPB)

The main symptom of SPB is pain in the affected bone. Some examples of the bone types that may be affected by SPB include those of the vertebrae, skull, and thigh bone (femur).

The growth of the bone can be damaged. Breaks can occur because of this.

It is possible for the skull to be affected by the SPB.

Extramedullary plasmacytoma (EMP)

Pain is caused by the effects of the EMPs in the affected area. The tumor may press on other nearby tissues as it grows.

It’s also possible for EMPs to cause problems specific to the area where they’ve developed. For example, in addition to pain in the affected area, an EMP in the sinuses may lead to nasal congestion and a reduced sense of smell.

It is not known what causes the disease. Potential risk factors include:

  • Age. Middle-aged and older people are more likely to develop plasmacytoma. The median age of diagnosis is 55 to 60.
  • Sex. Plasmacytoma is more common in people assigned male at birth.
  • Race. It’s not known why yet, but plasmacytoma has been observed with a greater frequency in African Americans.
  • Environmental exposures. It’s possible that previous exposures to radiation or certain types of chemicals may increase a person’s risk of plasmacytoma.

The doctor will use the following tests to help make a diagnosis of the disease.

  • Blood and urine tests. A variety of blood and urine tests can help your doctor determine what’s causing your symptoms. These tests may include:
    • blood and urine immunoglobulin studies, which can detect a protein called M protein (this protein is more commonly seen in multiple myeloma, but may also be found in small amounts in some people with plasmacytoma)
  • Imaging. Imaging can help your doctor see plasmacytoma in the bone or in other tissues. Some of the imaging tests your doctor may order include:
  • Biopsy. Your doctor will take a tissue sample from the tumor to check it for abnormal plasma cells.
  • Bone marrow biopsy. Regardless of whether the tumor is in the bone or not, a bone marrow biopsy is typically done to assess bone marrow health.

If the following are true, a diagnosis of the disease can be made.

  • A tumor is determined by a biopsy.
  • The solitary nature of the tumor means there are no additional tumors in the body.
  • A bone marrow biopsy shows that less than 10% of the bone marrow is normal.
  • There are no systemic signs of multiple myeloma, such as high calcium levels, anemia, or poor kidney function.

Radiation therapy typically treats plasmacytoma. This type of treatment uses high energy radiation to kill cells in the tumor. The radiation will be directed at the tumor, aiming to spare surrounding tissues from damage.

In rare cases, surgery to remove the tumor is an option. The type of procedure used depends on the location of the tumor.

Radiation therapy may be used after surgery. This helps to kill the remaining tumors.

There are several possible side effects from plasmacytoma.

  • Fractures. Having SPB can lead to fractures in the bone.
  • Neurological problems. Plasmacytoma may press on nearby nerves, leading to pain or feelings of weakness or numbness, particularly when SPB affects the spine. SPB of the skull can also cause There is a throbbing head. and vision problems.
  • POEMS syndrome. POEMS syndrome is extremely rare, but it can happen if your immune system responds abnormally to a tumor. It’s usually associated with SPB and causes five major symptoms:
    • Some hormones have abnormal levels.
    • abnormal cells produce M proteins
  • Local complications. EMP can cause complications in the area where it’s located. For example, an EMP in the throat may lead to shortness of breath or trouble speaking or swallowing.

The best way to avoid the problems is to get treatment. If you develop symptoms, it is always a good idea to make an appointment with a doctor.

Progression to multiple myeloma

Multiple myeloma can progress to placytoma. The risk of this happening depends on the type of plasmacytoma you have.

For SPB with no bone marrow involvement, the risk of progression to multiple myeloma within 3 years is 10 percent, according to a 2018 research commentary.

There is a higher chance of progression for SPB with minimal bone marrow involvement. The commentary says that up to 60 percent of people with this type of disease progress to multiple myeloma within 3 years.

EMP can also turn into multiple myeloma. Research from 2021 estimates this happens in about 15 percent of people.

The outlook for people with a certain type of cancer can be good if treatment is started early.

People with EMP tend to have a better outlook than those with SPB.

A 2017 study included 1,691 people with plasmacytoma. Over a follow-up period of almost 10 years, the median survival time after treatment was 8.12 years. Younger age and treatment with radiation therapy were associated with longer survival after treatment.

Plasmacytoma often responds well to radiation therapy. In fact, radiation therapy can control plasmacytoma in 85 to 90 percent of cases, reports 2018 research. This may include remission or possible cure.

It is possible for people who have had a disease to eventually develop multiple myeloma. Sometimes, the disease can return after treatment.

Your doctor will continue to monitor your condition even after treatment has ended.

A rare type of tumor is called a Plasmacytoma. It can happen inside or outside the bone.

Radiation therapy can help with the treatment of the disease. Doctors will monitor for people with multiple myeloma, even though it is possible for them to go on to develop the disease.

If you have unexplained pain in a bone, you should make an appointment with a doctor. They can use a variety of tests to determine what is causing your symptoms.