Multiple Myeloma

Here’s a cool musical way to remember some important facts about Multiple Myeloma using Billy Joel's song "We didn't start the fire":

If you haven’t listened to this song in a while, take a few minutes. It’s a great one!!!



Billy Joel’s “We didn’t start the fire” can help you remember 3 things about multiple myeloma!


1. Bence Jones (BJ) Proteins

It’s sung by the great Billy Joel (BJ).  His initials, BJ, remind us of Bence Jones protein that can be found in the urine of some myeloma patients.

BJ = Billy Joel

BJ = Bence Jones


2. Flame cells

“We didn’t start the fire” => Flames!

IgA-producing myelomas may have “flame cells” which are plasma cells that have fiery red fringes of cytoplasm which contain immunoglobulin.


3. Thalidomide is being used in the treatment of myeloma.

In the middle of the third verse Billy sings “Children of Thalidomide”

Thalidomide was taken off the market in the 1960’s because of the birth defects that it caused.  Doctors had been giving it to pregnant woman for morning sickness and was also used as a sedative.  It’s teratogenic effect has been called “one of the biggest medical tragedies” in history.

Thalidomide has anti-angiogenic properties which may have been the cause of the severe "flipper-like" limb deformities.   Thalidomide is now making a comeback because it’s being used in the treatment of myeloma and other disorders.



Special Thanks to Dr. Todd LaManna

Tags: Mnemonic, Multiple Myeloma

Copyright © 2010 John Barone MD. All rights reserved.


Category: Hematology Mnemonics

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