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Screening for MGUS in High-Risk Groups May Reduce Health Disparities in Myeloma

By: Joshua D. Madera, MD
Posted: Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Disparities in the incidence of multiple myeloma among non-Hispanic Black patients may best be explained by an increased incidence of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) rather than higher rates of disease progression, according to the results of a study published in Nature Communications. Additional investigative efforts are warranted to elucidate whether well-known risk factors may better explain the observed disparities in multiple myeloma incidence, suggested John H. Huber, PhD, of Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, and colleagues.

From 1999 to 2004, clinical data from 4,355 patients were obtained from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Surveys. All patients were older than 50 and were stratified based on age, gender, and race/ethnicity. In addition, Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program data were employed to determine the incidence of multiple myeloma in 2004 and 2010. A compartment model was composed outlining the patients’ clinical health status as healthy, with MGUS, or with multiple myeloma and the fatal progression of their disease.

According to the study authors, their mathematical model could successfully explain patterns observed in the collected data. Their model predicted a higher prevalence of MGUS and incidence of multiple myeloma in non-Hispanic Black patients compared with non-Hispanic White patients. Similarly, this trend was observed more frequently in men than in women. Moreover, increased age was significantly associated with the progression of MGUS to multiple myeloma. This finding may be explained by the increased incidence of MGUS rather than a direct impact of age on disease progression. Moreover, no significant association was identified between sex and race/ethnicity and the progression of MGUS to multiple myeloma.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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