Diagnosed with Cancer? Your two greatest challenges are understanding cancer and understanding possible side effects from chemo and radiation.  Knowledge is Power!

Learn about conventional, complementary, and integrative therapies.

Dealing with treatment side effects? Learn about evidence-based therapies to alleviate your symptoms.

Click the orange button to the right to learn more.

Myeloma, Kidney Damage, Anemia-

Share Button

Kidney failure in multiple myeloma is a complicated process that involves different processes and mechanisms…”One in four patients treated with cisplatin develop chronic kidney disease…

Multiple Myeloma (MM) and it’s affect on a patient/survivor’s kidney health is like the layers of an onion. MM can damage your kidney function and treatments to manage your MM can damage your kidney function.

So what is a MM patient to do?!?!


First and foremost, take a deep breath. MM is a difficult, complicated diagnosis. Understand that a general oncologists and hematologist-oncologists, while knowledgeable about cancers and blood cancers- are well-educated and generally experienced medical professionals, may not have the specific MM focused experience to help you manage your MM AS WELL AS your kidney health.

The next step, in my experience anyway, is to assume that your MM specialist may not know all the intricacies revolving around MM and kidney health.

I say this because I have researched and written extensively about MM and kidney care and I continue to find studies that cite treatments that MM patients undergo that may cause kidney damage.

Examples of what I am talking about are:

  • Gadolinium
  • Revlimid
  • and now Cytoxan aka cyclophosphamide 

I came across studies showing that all three of those common MM treatments can and do cause extensive damage to kidney health. Yet, I came across each of study at different times. The cytoxan/kidney study is linked below. I then searched the PeopleBeatingCancer archives to search for other posts talking about MM and kidney damage. This theme- MM and your kidneys- is spread throughout the PBC site going back years.

I’m not being critical of conventional oncology. I’m simply saying that development of an effect anti-MM therapy such as revlimid may be manna from heaven if your a MM survivor looking for therapy options. So the inventor of revlimid may have missed the side effect of revlimid damaging kidney health.

If you are a MM survivor with kidney damage, please read the posts linked below. Please talk to your oncologist about managing MM as well as managing your kidney health.

Kidney damage in Multiple Myeloma:

Possible kidney health therapies and consider adding them to your armamentarium.

Have you been diagnosed with MM?  Are your creatinine, BUN, eGFR levels in the normal range? To learn more about MM and your kidney health, please scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

Hang in there,

David Emerson

  • MM Survivor
  • MM Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Recommended Reading:

Multiple Myeloma Symptom, Side Effect, COD- Kidney, Renal Insufficiency

The Link Between Multiple Myeloma and Kidney Failure

Effects of multiple myeloma on the body

The growth of myeloma cells interferes with the production of normal plasma cells. This can cause several health complications. The organs most affected are the bones, blood, and kidneys…

Kidney failure

Kidney failure in multiple myeloma is a complicated process that involves different processes and mechanisms. The way this happens is the abnormal proteins travel to the kidneys and deposit there, causing obstruction in the kidney tubules and altered filtering properties. Additionally, elevated calcium levels can cause crystals to form in the kidneys, which causes damage. Dehydration, and medications such as NSAIDS (Ibuprofen, naproxen) can also cause kidney damage…


Malignant plasma cell production interferes with the production of normal red and white blood cells. Anemia occurs when the red blood cell count is low. It can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, and dizziness. About 60 percent of people with myeloma experience anemia, according to the MMRF…”

Scientists seek to shift treatment of kidney damage caused by cancer drug

“One in four patients treated with cisplatin develop chronic kidney disease. The Yale researchers found that by using an agonist peptide, derived from the secreted survival protein renalase and encapsulated in nanoparticles specifically designed to be taken up by the proximal tubules of the kidney, the principal site of cisplatin cytotoxicity, they could mitigate cisplatin-induced chronic kidney disease in mice…

Desir and Safirstein, professor of medicine (nephrology), administered two doses of two weeks apart to mice of the control group to establish CKD. In addition to the two doses of cisplatin, mice of the experimental group received a weekly injection of a kidney-targeted renalase agonist peptide. They found that the renalase peptide mitigated the development of cisplatin-induced CKD, as evidenced by improved , preserved kidney mass and proximal tubular cells number, and a marked reduction in presence of inflammatory cells in the kidney…”

Unresolved injury, not fibrosis, contributes to cisplatin-induced CKD

“Yale School of Medicine researchers have found that the progression of acute kidney injury to chronic kidney disease (CKD) caused by use of the chemotherapy drug cisplatin is due to unresolved injury and sustained activation of regulated necrosis pathways rather than fibrosis…

“We know that almost 25 percent of patients will develop CKD and a subset of those will actually go into end stage due to the use of cisplatin, so this is an important clinical problem,” explained Robert Safirstein, MD, primary author of the paper. “The model that we developed was designed to clearly indicate the interface between a recoverable single exposure of cisplatin that seems to be completely repaired, versus the development of chronic kidney disease after a carefully timed second dose where there is no recovery of renal function and even a progression to CKD.”

The study found that in the mice that received one dose of the drug, kidney function returned to baseline two weeks after the first dose. For those who received a second dose, was compromised and the damage was unable to be repaired. The damaged kidneys showed a 50 percent fixed loss in GFR that lasted more than 25 weeks. Chronic renal failure was also confirmed by a progressive loss of renal mass…”

Anemia in Chronic Kidney Disease

“What causes anemia in chronic kidney disease?

When kidneys are diseased or damaged, they do not make enough EPO. As a result, the bone marrow makes fewer red blood cells, causing anemia. When blood has fewer red blood cells, it deprives the body of the oxygen it needs.

Other common causes of anemia in people with kidney disease include blood loss from hemodialysis and low levels of the following nutrients found in food:

  • iron
  • vitamin B12
  • folic acid

These nutrients are necessary for red blood cells to make hemoglobin, the main oxygen-carrying protein in the red blood cells…”


Leave a Comment: