A multiple myeloma of the late middle ages from unterregenbach, southwestern Germany


  • Miriam Noël Haidle

    1. Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte, Abteilung Ältere Urgeschichte und Quartärokologie der Universität Tübingen, Schloss, D-72070 Tübingen, Germany
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In the early 1960s the grave of a probable donor was discovered in the St Veit church in Unterregenbach, Stadt Langenburg, Kreis Crailsheim, southwestern Germany. After a re-examination, the skeleton may be regarded as clearly corresponding to the typical clinical picture of a multiple myeloma/plasma cell myeloma. The 45–55-year-old female individual shows all the characteristics of a malignant plasma cell tumour, with specific osteolytic lesions of the skull, vertebrae, ribs, pelvis, scapulae and long bones, and even-sized single defects without reactive zones on the edges. Several pathological fractures of the ribs and a vertebral compression fracture can be observed. The gnawing-mark-like features on the inner surface of the compact bone and the ‘punched-out’ lesions on the outer are distinguishing marks of a multiple myeloma.