What happens in early MGUS, or monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance? Watch as expert Dr. Irene Ghobrial explains MGUS and how often it progresses, and patient and Empowerment Lead Lisa Hatfield shares her advice and information about ongoing research studies on MGUS.
Dr. Irene Ghobrial:
So MGUS, or monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, is a precursor or the stage before myeloma happens, and it’s actually a very common disease or entity in many, many of us as we get older. In fact, maybe 5 percent of the population over the age of 50 would have this early MGUS.”
The condition of MGUS does not usually impact a person’s health or result in any symptoms. MGUS is most often found on a routine blood test that notes a high level of protein in the blood, and additional tests show the protein is a monoclonal antibody.
Though MGUS is not a cancer, it is sometimes classified pre-malignant since some patients with MGUS eventually develop cancers such as lymphoma, multiple myeloma, or amyloidosis.
So MGUS, or monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, is the precursor to typically smoldering myeloma and then to multiple myeloma. Not all MGUS is going to progress to multiple myeloma. In fact, it usually does not. Also important to have a hematologist on board if you are diagnosed with MGUS. There is a study being done right now in Iceland called the iStopMM Study or the Black Swan Study where they are looking at every resident over a certain age to detect how many people in the general population have MGUS. And they follow them over time longitudinally to see how many of those patients who have MGUS will progress to smoldering myeloma and then onto multiple myeloma.
So it’s really interesting. I guess what I would say about MGUS if you’re diagnosed with MGUS, not to panic. You have a lot of time to think about it, to have a hematologist follow you. And typically MGUS, as far as I know, is not treated. It is just monitored to see if it will progress onto smoldering myeloma and then onto multiple myeloma.