Currently, there is no cure for multiple myeloma. However, new treatments can help slow its progression and even induce its remission, both of which can help improve life expectancy.

Multiple myeloma is cancer of the plasma cells. Experts may use various treatments for the condition, often combining them for the best effect. The aim is to keep the cancer in remission for as long as possible.

This article reviews how doctors treat multiple myeloma and the outlook of people with this condition.

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There is no cure for multiple myeloma. The treatment approach focuses on slowing its progression, improving symptoms, and putting the disease into remission. Doctors consider multiple myeloma in remission when most of its signs and symptoms disappear.

Multiple myeloma remission can help improve a person’s quality of life and outlook.

A 2022 review found that marine products may have the potential to treat and cure multiple myeloma in the future. Still, more research is necessary. There are no signs of an imminent cure for this condition.

Learn more about multiple myeloma.

Doctors treat multiple myeloma using a combination of medical treatments depending on the stage of the disease and the symptoms a person experiences.

Medical treatment usually focuses on improving the symptoms, reducing the number of myeloma cells in the body as quickly as possible, and maintaining that low number.

Treatment usually comprises three phases:

  • Induction: This entails a three- or four-drug regimen over many weeks. It might include:
    • an immunomodulator
    • a proteasome inhibitor
    • a corticosteroid
    • an anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody
  • Consolidation: This is only if a person is to receive a stem cell transplant.
  • Maintenance: This phase may require a person to take an immunomodulator or similar medications to stop the myeloma from returning. It helps improve survival.

The treatment options for multiple myeloma may include:

Chemotherapy and immunotherapy

Chemotherapy can help kill and reduce the number of myeloma plasma cells in the body, preventing them from multiplying and spreading.

Specialists often give chemotherapy drugs alongside immunotherapy. These drugs help the immune system fight cancer. Immunomodulators are a type of immunotherapy.

The chemotherapy and immunotherapy medications doctors use for multiple myeloma may include:

Learn more about chemotherapy for multiple myeloma.


These medications can sometimes help kill cancer cells. Other times, they can help reduce the effects of cancer on the body.

Doctors may prescribe corticosteroids to treat multiple myeloma relapses.

Learn more about corticosteroids.

Autologous stem cell transplant

The bone marrow and blood contain stem cells. They are important for producing new plasma cells. A transplant of healthy stem cells can help replace compromised cells in the body and boost the production of healthy plasma cells.

People may receive a stem cell transplant from a donor (allogenic transplant). However, doctors usually recommend people with multiple myeloma receive a transplant for their own stem cells (autologous transplant).

Learn more about stem cell transplants for multiple myeloma.

Proteosome inhibitors

These drugs block the action of proteosomes, which are enzymes that break down proteins in cancer cells. In doing so, they promote the death of myeloma cells.

Some examples of proteasome inhibitors for multiple myeloma include:

CAR T-cell therapy

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of CAR T-cell agents and monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of multiple myeloma.

CAR T-cell therapy works by training the immune system — specifically the T cells — to attack cancer cells. In 2022, the FDA approved ciltacabtagene autoleucel (Carvytki) for multiple myeloma.

Another CAR T-cell therapy called Idecabtagene vicleuce (Abecma) has also received FDA approval for treating myeloma.

Learn more about CAR T-cell therapy for multiple myeloma.

Monoclonal and bispecific antibodies

Monoclonal antibody drugs bind to antigens, or proteins, found on the surface of myeloma cells. An example is the anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody.

In 2023, the FDA approved two therapies in a new class of drugs: talquetamab-tgvs (Talvey) and elranatamab (Elrexfio). These are bispecific antibodies that target different antigens found on multiple myeloma cells.

Bispecific antibodies show a lot of promise in treating multiple myeloma.

Other medications

Doctors may prescribe pain medications to manage bone pain, a common symptom that occurs in people with multiple myeloma. Bone pain can cause severe discomfort.

In some cases, they may also prescribe antibiotics to treat infections. This is because the immune system of a person with multiple myeloma may be weaker due to cancer treatment.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is a local therapy that uses targeted beams of energy to kill cancer cells in a specific area.

Doctors may also use radiation therapy to target tumors that spread to the bones.

Learn more about radiation therapy.

The outlook of multiple myeloma can vary depending on several factors, including:

  • age
  • a person’s overall health
  • cancer stage at diagnosis

Similar to other types of cancer, an early diagnosis and treatment can help improve the outlook of this condition.

The following table highlights the 5-year survival rate of people with multiple myeloma depending on the stage of cancer at diagnosis:

Stage at diagnosisDescription5-year survival rate
Localized (solitary plasmacytoma)Cancer is growing inside and outside the bone.79%
RegionalThis does not apply to multiple myeloma as it does not spread to the lymph nodes.N/A
Distant (multiple myeloma)Cancer has spread, and multiple tumors are inside and outside the bones. This stage accounts for 96% of myeloma cases at diagnosis.57%

It is important to remember that these statistics do not consider factors such as the overall health and age of a person who receives a diagnosis. Some people with multiple myeloma can live for 10 years or more.

The doctor in charge of a person’s care can provide more details about their specific situation and what their outlook might look like.

Several organizations can offer support to people with multiple myeloma and their carers. Support can come in the form of resources, financial aid, or enabling connections to those experiencing a similar situation.

Some organizations that offer support to people with multiple myeloma include:

Here are some common questions about multiple myeloma.

How long can you live with multiple myeloma?

People can live with multiple myeloma for many years. Improved and new medical treatments for this condition can help slow the progression of the disease and improve life expectancy.

What is the most successful treatment for multiple myeloma?

The most successful treatment for multiple myeloma consists of undergoing induction therapy, followed by a stem cell transplant, maintenance therapy, or both, to help keep the cancer in remission and reduce the risk of relapse.

Is it possible to beat multiple myeloma?

There is no cure for multiple myeloma. However, receiving appropriate treatment can help improve a person’s life expectancy.

While there is currently no cure for multiple myeloma, several treatment options are available to help slow its progression and put it into remission.

The treatment for multiple myeloma usually consists of taking a combination of immunomodulator drugs, chemotherapy, and corticosteroids with the aim of reducing the number of cancerous cells before undergoing a stem cell transplant or following a maintenance therapy.