Multiple myeloma (MM) is a neoplastic disorder characterized by monoclonal multiplying of plasma cells. Although radiation, environmental factors, viruses and other factors have been suggested as potential causes of the disease, the aetiopathogenesis of MM is still obscure. This clinical study was designed to investigate the role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the aetiopathogenesis of the disease and the possible relationships between treatment and ROS production. For this purpose, erythrocyte superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), and catalase (CAT) activities as well as plasma nitric oxide (NO) and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels were measured in 14 MM patients newly diagnosed at stage III. The relationship between the above-mentioned parameters and vincristine-adriamycin-dexamethasone (VAD) therapy were also investigated in the same patients. All the enzyme activities and the parameters of oxidative stress were found to be significantly reduced after VAD therapy. These findings suggest that ROS may be involved in the aetiopathogenesis of MM. Further investigations with a larger cohort of MM patients are needed to provide definitive data about the role of ROS in MM and the alternative therapeutic approaches to MM. Copyright (C) 2004 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.