Epidemiology of Multiple Myeloma in Australia (EMMA)

Multiple myeloma is cancer of the blood cells in bone marrow. In Australia, about 1,500 people are diagnosed with this condition each year.  

There is limited information about the causes of multiple myeloma, and other related conditions, such as MGUS (monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance), smoldering myeloma and plasmacytoma. We know that the risk of developing multiple myeloma increases with age and men are at higher risk than women, but there is little information about specific causes.

To improve our understanding of what causes multiple myeloma, Cancer Council Victoria is conducting a large research study. The EMMA Study (whose scientific title is Epidemiology of Multiple Myeloma in Australia) is investigating whether lifestyle choices (such as diet and exercise) and environmental factors (such as exposure to chemicals or viruses) affect the development of the condition. The study is also looking at the role of genes in the development of multiple myeloma.

The EMMA Study aims to provide information that will contribute to the prevention and treatment of multiple myeloma and related conditions in the future.

Who can take part?

Currently, the EMMA Study is being conducted in Victoria and New South Wales. People who reside in one of these states and have been diagnosed, in the last 12 months, with multiple myeloma, MGUS, smouldering myeloma or plasmacytoma are invited to take part.

Relatives of people taking part are also being included in the study. Collecting information from people who do not have multiple myeloma or related conditions, allows comparisons to be made that could help to pin point factors that increase the risk of developing these conditions.

What does taking part involve?

You will be asked to:

  • complete questionnaires about your health, lifestyle and family and medical history.
  • provide a saliva sample.
  • allow the researchers to obtain a stored tissue sample from the pathology laboratory where your original diagnoses was made.
  • allow the researchers to obtain related medical information from several organisations.
  • allow the researchers to invite a family member to participate in the study. This is optional, you can still take part without the involvement of family members.

Study partners

The EMMA Study is being conducted through the cooperative efforts of:

  • Cancer Council Victoria
  • Victorian Cancer Registry
  • NSW Central Cancer Registry
  • Myeloma and Related Diseases Registry (MRDR)
  • Myeloma Foundation of Australia
  • Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (Victoria)
  • Cabrini Health (Victoria)
  • Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (NSW)
  • Calvary Mater Hospital (NSW)
  • Alfred Health (Victoria)
  • The Northern Hospital (Victoria)

Other partners may be joining the EMMA Study as it progresses.

Getting involved or finding out more

If you're interested in getting involved or finding out more about the EMMA Study please contact the EMMA Study on 1800 079 414 or email emma@cancervic.org.au.

Updated: 15 Mar, 2016