Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined signiﬁcance (MGUS) is a premalignant condition and it is estimated that about 3% of individuals aged 50 years are affected by MGUS. The risk increases in people who are older than 70 years to 5%. Not all the people diagnosed with MGUS progress to cancers, only 1% of the population diagnosed with MGUS progress to lymphoproliferative malignancies.
Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) is characterized by the presence of an abnormal protein, monoclonal protein, paraprotein or M protein in the serum.1 These proteins are produced by the plasma cells in bone marrow.
Can MGUS Or Monoclonal Gammopathy Of Undetermined Significance Go Away On Its Own?
Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance does not go away on its own. MGUS is not a cancerous condition, but over a period of time, the disease can progress to cancers such as multiple myeloma, cancer of plasma cells or lymphoma, cancer of lymphocytes.
Plasma cells are a type of white blood cells which are responsible for making antibodies to strengthen the immune system and fight infection. In patients with monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, the plasma cells produce an abnormal antibody which is referred to as paraprotein or M-protein. These proteins do not cause any disease condition. Plasma cells are a type of immune cells and hence immunocompromised patients are at increased risk of developing MGUS.
A certain population is at increased risk of developing monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance such as older people, African-Americans, male population, immuno-compromised patients, hereditary and environmental factors. There are different types of MGUS depending upon different types of M-proteins. Non-IgM MGUS is the most common form of MGUS
The most common symptom of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance is tingling and numbness.2 The increased levels of paraproteins in the blood are responsible for damage to the nerves causing numbness and balance control. People often refer to neurologists to manage the symptoms which may ultimately be diagnosed as MGUS. MGUS with the underlying cancerous condition can result in bone fractures, decreased bone density, blood clots, and kidney problems.
Doctors advise patients to perform the blood test to measure the paraproteins and get the complete blood count. An analysis of the liver and kidneys is also performed to check for the functioning. Serum calcium levels are also analyzed as there will be a rise in increased calcium levels in the blood in multiple myeloma patients. These paraproteins can also be detected in urine. X-ray analysis is performed to check the bone lesions and damage to the bones. CT (Computerised Tomography) or MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is also performed. Doctors may also advise for bone marrow biopsy. Bone marrow will be collected from the hip bone under local anesthesia.
The symptoms of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance include constant bone pain, extreme tiredness, prone to infections (suffering from infections frequently and are on regular antibiotic treatment), weight loss, night sweats, etc. The frequent diagnosis will include all the tests (blood test, scan, X-ray, etc) if there is an increase in the levels of the M-proteins then the doctors may advise further test to evaluate the cause of increased M-protein levels.
Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance may remain at the same stage for years, but it does not go away. The cause of the disease is not clear. There are no preventive measures to be taken to prevent the disease. The science has advanced for the detection of M-proteins responsible for the cause of LPMS, but there are no treatment methods developed for the same (to control the level of M-proteins). Lacking the preventive and treatment measures, there is no way that once M-proteins are detected in the blood will go away on its own.
Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance does not go away on its own. Although the levels of M proteins can remain stable for a long period of time, but unfortunately it can increase anytime and progress to multiple myeloma or lymphoma. A patient diagnosed with MGUS will have the M-proteins for life and the condition requires careful monitoring throughout the life to monitor the M-protein levels and increase the survival time.
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