TAMPA, Fla. – Multiple myeloma is a rare incurable disease that is diagnosed in more than 30,000 people each year in the United States. Only half of patients with multiple myeloma are expected to survive five years after their diagnosis. Moffitt Cancer Center researchers are trying to identify patients who are at a higher risk of developing multiple myeloma early in order to improve patient outcomes. A new study published online in the JCO™ Clinical Cancer Informatics found that screening individuals with a high lifetime risk of developing a precursor condition can reduce the prevalence and specific mortality of symptomatic multiple myeloma.
The majority of patients with multiple myeloma develop the disease from a non-malignant and asymptomatic precursor condition called Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS) ? a disorder of the blood in which white blood cells begin overproducing a type of protein called M protein. Blood tests for MGUS are very accurate and minimally invasive. It is estimated that the average risk of progression from MGUS to multiple myeloma is at least 1 percent per person per year, but it can be higher in persons with evolving disease. People with MGUS most often do not have any obvious
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