Amyloidosis vs Multiple Myeloma: Difference and Comparison

Key Takeaways

  1. Amyloidosis is a rare disorder where abnormal proteins called amyloids build up in various tissues and organs, disrupting their normal function. This can lead to organ damage and affect different body systems, such as the heart, kidneys, liver, or nervous system.
  2. On the other hand, multiple myeloma is a type of blood cancer that specifically affects plasma cells responsible for producing antibodies. In multiple myeloma, cancerous plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow, leading to the overproduction of abnormal antibodies and interfering with producing healthy blood cells.
  3. While amyloidosis can occur due to multiple myeloma (known as AL amyloidosis), it is important to note that amyloidosis can also have other causes unrelated to multiple myeloma, such as genetic mutations or other underlying diseases.

What is Amyloidosis?

Amyloidosis is not one but a group of diseases. It is the abnormal accumulation of amyloid proteins in tissues and organs throughout the body. Misfolded proteins characterise amyloid proteins.


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This type of protein clumps together and forms insoluble fibrils. These residues impede the standard functionality of organs and tissues. We can find several types of amyloidosis. Some of them are – hereditary (ATTR) amyloidosis, primary (AL) amyloidosis, and secondary (AA) amyloidosis.

Primary amyloidosis is identified when plasma cells overproduce abnormal immunoglobulin proteins in the bone marrow. Secondary amyloidosis causes chronic inflammatory diseases. Inflammatory bowel disease falls under this.

Hereditary amyloidosis, as its name suggests, is caused by genes, not any genes but specific ones that usher the production of abnormal proteins and, therefore, amyloid fibrils.

Organs and tissues like the heart, kidneys, liver, nerves and digestive system get damaged in amyloidosis. The specific antidote plan will rely on the disease’s and patient’s health conditions.

While medications slow the build-up of abnormal proteins, a stem cell transplant is needed to rejuvenate. Chemotherapy and supportive therapies are also part of the treatment.

What is Multiple Myeloma?

Multiple myeloma is a kind of cancer. It impacts plasma cells that reside in the bone marrow. In this disease, the plasma cells grow uncontrollably and develop tumours. In most cases, the tumour occurs in the bone marrow and, in some rare cases, can happen to other body parts.

Plasma cells create antibodies. When the production happens in abundance, it leads to various health problems. Weakened bones, kidney damage, anaemia, and overall damage to the immune system are seen in this condition.

The reason behind multiple myeloma is believed to be genetic mutations. Chemotherapy, stem cell transplantation, radiation, and targeted therapy are widely used to fight multiple myeloma.

Difference Between Amyloidosis and Multiple Myeloma

  1. Amyloidosis is a group of diseases, while multiple myeloma is a type of cancer.
  2. Amyloidosis happens due to the abnormal production of proteins that clump jointly and form residues in different tissues and organs of human bodies. On the other hand, multiple myeloma is caused by the disordered development of plasma cells in the bone marrow.
  3. In amyloidosis, weight loss, shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling, and an enlarged tongue is standard, while multiple myeloma gives rise to kidney damage, anaemia, and recurrent infections.
  4. Organ failure is the most common outcome of amyloidosis, whereas bone degradation is seen in multiple myeloma.
  5. Medications, stem cell transplant, and chemotherapy will help with amyloidosis, and one needs radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and stem cell transplant to cure multiple myeloma.

Comparison Between Amyloidosis and Multiple Myeloma

Parameter of ComparisonAmyloidosisMultiple Myeloma
DefinitionThis disease group occurs due to abnormal protein build-up in tissues and organs.This type of cancer impacts the plasma cells in the bone marrow.  
CauseThis happens due to the abnormal production of proteins.The disordered development of plasma cells causes it.
SymptomsOne can experience weight loss, shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling, enlarged tongue, and numbness or tingling in the hands or feet.  One can experience fatigue, pain, kidney damage, anaemia and recurrent infections.
Area of impactIt can damage the kidneys, the liver, the nervous system, and the heart.It can lead to bone lesions and fractures.
TreatmentCure for this disease includes medications, stem cell transplant, and chemotherapy.Cures for this disease include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and stem cell transplant.
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