Defining MGUS and Smoldering Myeloma

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What are MGUS and smoldering myeloma? Dr. Faith Davies from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences defines these terms and what it means for patients. Dr. Davies explains how symptoms are detected and how patients are monitored to help determine whether myeloma could actually develop over time.

Clinical Trials Mentioned in This Video:

Smoldering Multiple Myeloma
Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS)

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Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Jack Aiello:

Can you say something about early stages, precursors to myeloma, specifically MGUS and smoldering myeloma and what they are?

Dr. Davies:

So the protein Dr. Orlowski mentioned, the M spike, you can actually find that in quite a lot of normal individuals who don’t have myeloma. And it gets increasingly common as you get older. And the condition we call that is MGUS, or monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined or uncertain significance.

And essentially, in those patients or individuals, we can just detect the M protein. But those people are well, and they don’t have any other problems. So they’ve got none of the problems Dr. Orlowski mentioned, such as the problems with their bones or the problems with their kidneys.

And usually those individuals find out they have an M spike, because maybe they went to have their varicose veins done, or a hernia repaired, or something like that. Often, we just keep a close eye on those individuals. A very small percentage of those people may go on and develop myeloma.

But the majority of them will not have any issues or problems. There’s another group of individuals who also may have the M spike. But when we look at their bone marrow, they may have a slightly higher percentage of the myeloma plasma cells within the bone marrow.

And those patients we describe as having asymptomatic myeloma or smoldering myeloma. And we know for those individuals that some of those, again, may go on and develop myeloma. And therefore, we need to keep a close eye on those individuals, because we ideally want to try and catch those individuals before they go on and develop any symptoms, or signs, or problems associated with a myeloma.                  

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Related Programs

Is Free Light Chain Ratio Important for Predicting Disease Progression from MGUS and Smoldering Myeloma?

Listen as Dr. Orlowski explains the impact of an asymptomatic myeloma patient’s risk of disease progression based on their free light chain ratio.

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Page last updated on April 8, 2016