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Myeloma Kidney- Creatinine, BUN, eGFR

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According to research, approximately 50% of newly diagnosed myeloma patients (NDMM) present with kidney involvement. Myeloma kidney is the commonly used term for this situation.

The point of this post is that kidney health is just as important to half of all NDMM patients as our incurable blood cancer is. Actually infection is the most common cause of death for MM patients and kidney failure is the second most common cause of death according to research. 

What is the creatine blood test indicate?

The creatinine blood test is commonly used to assess kidney function. Creatinine is a waste product produced by muscle metabolism, and it is filtered out of the blood by the kidneys. The level of creatinine in the blood is a direct reflection of how well the kidneys are functioning.

The creatinine blood test is often included in a panel of tests called a renal function panel or a basic metabolic panel. Elevated levels of creatinine in the blood may indicate impaired kidney function. Conditions that can lead to increased creatinine levels include:

  1. Kidney Disease: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) can cause a gradual increase in creatinine levels.
  2. Dehydration: In some cases, dehydration can lead to a temporary increase in creatinine levels.
  3. Kidney Infection: Infections affecting the kidneys, such as pyelonephritis, can lead to elevated creatinine.
  4. Certain Medications: Some medications can affect kidney function and lead to changes in creatinine levels.
  5. Muscle Disorders: Conditions that cause muscle breakdown, such as rhabdomyolysis, can also result in elevated creatinine levels.

It’s important to note that a single elevated creatinine level may not be conclusive, and additional tests and clinical information are usually needed to determine the cause of the elevation. If kidney dysfunction is suspected, other tests such as

  • blood urea nitrogen (BUN),
  • glomerular filtration rate (GFR),
  • and urine tests

may be performed to provide a more comprehensive assessment of kidney function.

What chemotherapy regimens affect kidney health?

Chemotherapy can have various effects on kidney health, and the impact depends on the specific drugs used, their dosages, and the overall health of the individual. Some chemotherapy drugs are known to be more nephrotoxic (toxic to the kidneys) than others.

Some chemotherapy drugs that may affect kidney health include:

  1. Cisplatin: Cisplatin is a platinum-based chemotherapy drug commonly used to treat various cancers, including testicular, ovarian, bladder, and lung cancers. It is well-known for its nephrotoxic effects and can lead to acute kidney injury.
  2. Carboplatin: Another platinum-based drug, carboplatin, is less nephrotoxic than cisplatin but can still have some impact on kidney function.
  3. Ifosfamide: Ifosfamide is an alkylating agent used in the treatment of various cancers, including sarcomas and lymphomas. It can cause kidney damage, and nephrotoxicity is a known side effect.
  4. Methotrexate: Methotrexate is an antimetabolite used to treat various cancers and autoimmune conditions. High doses or prolonged use can lead to kidney damage, and hydration and urine alkalinization are often used to reduce its impact on the kidneys.
  5. Cyclosporine: While not a traditional chemotherapy drug, cyclosporine is an immunosuppressive medication used in some cancer treatments, especially in the context of bone marrow or stem cell transplantation. It can affect kidney function, and monitoring is essential.

Unfortunately, NDMM patients must be aware of several factors when they are diagnosed. And it is their creatinine, BUN and eGFR that helps them figure out the health of their kidneys.

In my experience, watching our for aggressive, high-dose chemo (think ASCT) and also considering evidence-based non-conventional therapies shown to help kidney function such as:

can help manage kidney health as well as manage your bone marrow health.

Have you been diagnosed with multiple myeloma? Do you have kidney involvement? Let me know-


David Emerson

  • MM Survivor
  • MM Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Myeloma Kidney

“Multiple myeloma (MM) is a plasma cell disorder characterized by clonal proliferation of malignant plasma cells producing monoclonal proteins and causing organ damage. The involvement of the kidney in plasma cell dyscrasias, including multiple myeloma, is widespread.

Renal disease in patients with multiple myeloma is sometimes referred to as myeloma kidney. At the time of presentation, about 50 percent of patients have renal involvement. Renal involvement is associated with higher mortality…





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