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ASH 2022: Which Impacts Your MGUS Status - COVID Vaccine or Obesity?
Posted: Jan 05, 2023
ASH 2022: Which Impacts Your MGUS Status - COVID Vaccine or Obesity? image

For those diagnosed with Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS), many wonder what factors may or may not impact the risk of progression to active multiple myeloma (MM).

At ASH 2022, Robert Palmason presented findings from Abstract 105  that revealed COVID vaccination does not impact the risk of progression from MGUS to MM. Some potential concerns had been raised that stimulating the immune system though vaccination could trigger progression of the underlying pre-cancerous cells, leading to a potential increase in M-protein and possibly to active myeloma. The large iStopMM study in Iceland evaluated SARS-CoV-2 vaccinated individuals and the authors concluded that: 

“SARS-CoV-2 vaccination is safe in individuals with MGUS and does not lead to progression irrespective of the number of vaccine doses administered and type of vaccine used.”

Based on this data, MGUS patients can have additional confidence in seeking and following their doctor’s recommendations regarding COVID vaccines.  

Although COVID vaccination may not increase the risk of progression, obesity is a risk factor that should not be ignored.

Lawrence Liu, MD presented findings from Abstract 1865  that indicate that increases in body mass index (BMI) may impact the progression of MGUS to active myeloma. Their analysis included 7,739 MGUS patients and revealed that increases in BMI of 1 kg/m2 per year were associated with 2% increased progression to MM. The authors state: 

“This finding suggests that maintaining a healthy weight in patients with MGUS may reduce the risk of progression.”

You can find a helpful BMI calculator from the CDC.

In MGUS, smoldering myeloma, and multiple myeloma, there are many elements of our journey that may seem to be out of our control. Taking actions to reduce our risk of COVID and other infections and striving towards a healthy diet are elements of life that we can control.

For support in building a comprehensive treatment strategy that includes a healthy diet and weight management, check with your cancer center, and consider resources from HealthTree.  Click on these links for resources and events from HealthTree’s Nutrition and Wellness Chapter, and The HealthTree Moves Chapter. 


The author Todd Kennedy

about the author
Todd Kennedy

Todd Kennedy was diagnosed with myeloma in 2017 and has become a tireless advocate for myeloma patients and research. His background includes over 30 years working in the pharmaceutical industry until he and his wife Diane retired from their respective first careers to devote their time and talents to strengthen the myeloma community. They collaborate with HealthTree and other trusted partners to educate and empower myeloma patients and caregivers and accelerate the arrival of cures.

Thanks to our HealthTree Community for Multiple Myeloma Sponsors:

Johnson and Johnson
Bristol Myers Squibb

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