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Higher Risk of MGUS in Immediate Family Members with Multiple Myeloma
Posted: Oct 11, 2018
Higher Risk of MGUS in Immediate Family Members with Multiple Myeloma image

Immediate family members of multiple myeloma patients have a significantly higher risk for a myeloma precursor condition called monoclonal gammopathy of underdetermined significance (MGUS), according to a recent study published in Leukemia.

The Mayo Clinic Rochester, with the work founded by Dr. Robert Kyle, pioneered the study of early myeloma conditions. Dr. Clay-Gilmour and Mayo Clinic colleagues conducted a study with the aim of determining whether familial risk for MGUS differs based on the age of the multiple myeloma patient at onset, the tumor, or clinical characteristics.

A total of 430 Mayo Clinic patients with myeloma and 30 patients with smoldering myeloma were reviewed between 2005 -2015. Blood samples to test for MGUS were obtained from 1179 first-degree relatives (who had to be over age 40).  

Most of the patients in the study were white (97%) and men (56%). Most first-degree relatives were women (58.7%) and 62.8% were siblings. 

Out of the 1179 first-degree relatives, 75 of them had MGUS. The rates of MGUS were 2.4 times greater than normal rates of incidence. 

There was no difference in survival rates between patients with a first-degree relative who had MGUS and those who did not after a 15-year follow up.

The risk to family members was not statistically significant when the myeloma patient's age at diagnosis, sex, type of myeloma or trisomies were taken into account.

Dr. Vincent Rajkumar of the Mayo Clinic stated: 

“Although we found that the risk of MGUS is 2-3 fold higher in first degree relatives, the absolute excess risk of multiple myeloma in family members is likely to be quite low. So far, we are unable to find specific features that is associated with a familial risk. At this point since the risk is low, and since there is no treatment for MGUS, we do not recommend routine screening of family members of myeloma patients. However, if two or more close relatives are affected by myeloma, I would consider a work up for monoclonal protein in first-degree relatives.”


The author Jennifer Ahlstrom

about the author
Jennifer Ahlstrom

Myeloma survivor, patient advocate, wife, mom of 6. Believer that patients can contribute to cures by joining HealthTree Cure Hub and joining clinical research. Founder and CEO of HealthTree Foundation. 

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