A plasmacytoma is a malignant tumor formed by white blood cells. These tumors grow in soft tissue or within bones.
Over a 5-10 year period, plasmacytoma that occur in bones can progress to a more serious condition known as multiple myeloma. The majority of cases of plasmacytoma produce a paraprotien that interferes with kidney function.
Plasmacytoma that occur in soft tissue are frequently seen in the upper respiratory tract and are very treatable with surgery. Single tumors that are found in bones respond well to radiotherapy. Types of plasmacytoma include solitary bone plasmacytoma (SBP) and extramedullary plasmacytoma (EMP). EMP do not involve bone marrow.
How does it work?
Treatment for plasmacytoma aims to remove or eradicate the cancer cells with surgery or radiotherapy. Treatment depends on the type, stage and location of the tumors. Plasmacytoma respond well to radiotherapy and patients can often see relief of their major symptoms with radiotherapy alone. It is recommended that the tumor be treated along with a margin of approximately 2 cm of healthy tissue surrounding the tumor.
In cases of SBP plasmacytoma surgery is usually not suggested as a treatment option unless the tumor is causing other issues. Chemotherapy is generally not used in cases of SBP; however, with EMP it can be useful in killing any remaining cancer cells and hopefully reducing the risk of the cancer returning.
Types of treatment for plasmacytoma include radiotherapy, surgery and chemotherapy. Radiotherapy is the first choice of treatment in most cases. This is the least invasive treatment with the fewest side effects.
The side effects of plasmacytoma treatment vary based on the treatment that the patient receives. With radiotherapy treatment patients can experience redness and soreness on their skin where the radiotherapy is being administered. Over time they often become fatigued faster than they used to. Many patients are able to continue to go to work and live a fairly normal life during treatment.
Surgery as a plasmacytoma treatment involves going under anesthesia and a recovery period that may be painful.
Chemotherapy patients experience side effects such as nausea, fatigue, vomiting, and potential hair loss.