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Cancer Keys

MGUS and Myeloma: What’s the link?

Published: 26th July 2022

15th February 2019

MGUS is a benign condition which does not usually require treatment. However, a small number of patients diagnosed with MGUS will go on to develop myeloma.

Understanding MGUS

Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) is a benign condition characterised by the presence of paraproteins in the blood and/or urine. It doesn’t cause symptoms or require treatment and is usually only diagnosed when patients are investigated for other issues.

While most people with MGUS will not see an effect on their general health, about 1% of patients with MGUS will go on to develop myeloma each year.*

Specialist viewpoint

GatewayC’s ‘Myeloma – Early Diagnosis’ course explores MGUS and its relationship with Myeloma in greater detail. GatewayC’s Cancer Lead GP, Dr. Sarah Taylor discusses the significance of this pre-malignant condition with Dr. Neil Rabin, Consultant Haematologist at University College London Hospitals and North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust.

What does Myeloma UK say about MGUS and Myeloma ?

MGUS is a condition which resembles myeloma due to the presence of abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow and paraprotein in the blood and/or urine, but at much lower levels than in myeloma.

Each year around one in 100 MGUS patients will be diagnosed with myeloma and will need treatment. MGUS usually remains stable for many years without progressing to myeloma. Data suggests that if MGUS remains stable for two years then, on average, it will remain stable for 10 years before there is progression to myeloma.**

Cancer Key:

The presence of paraproteins in a patient’s blood or urine doesn’t necessarily mean they have myeloma and could be indicative of MGUS. However, it is important that these patients are sent to a haematologist, so that they can be appropriately investigated and be given advice on what symptoms to look out for.

Access GatewayC’s ‘Myeloma – Early Diagnosis’ course here

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* Information from Macmillan Cancer Support. See link here. 

** Information from Myeloma UK – MGUS. See link here.

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