Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS) is a benign (non-cancerous) condition where large amounts of particular antibody are produced in the system. This antibody is referred to as a paraprotein or M-protein.
There are no known symptoms of Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS). It can be diagnosed through urine and blood test screening. A person may need to have other tests in order to rule out more serious medical conditions. Additional testing could include x-rays, CT-Scans or review of a bone marrow sample.
Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS) is caused by the over-production of M protein. When this happens, M protein forces out the healthy cells from the bone marrow and can also negatively affect other tissues in the body. While the exact cause of this process remains unknown, research suggests environmental and hereditary factors play a large role.
There are some risk factors that influence who is more likely to develop MGUS. Age is a consideration, as most people tend to develop monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance at the age of 70 or later. Race also seems to serve as an indication. Among white and black races, those of African descent contract MGUS more often. The prevalence of the condition in other races hasn’t yet been determined. Men are also more likely to contract this disease than women. Additionally, a family history of MGUS serves as a strong indicator that one is more susceptible to the disease.
Since Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS) shows no symptoms, treatment is not necessary but the diagnosed patient must be monitored regularly. There are a small percentage of people with MGUS who can develop a more serious plasma cell disease. In addition, MGUS can be connected with other diseases such as osteoporosis.
A person will have a blood test to check M-Protein levels every few months within the first year. The healthcare provider will monitor the M-protein patterns. These are monitored to determine whether they stay are on the rise, or roughly the same with each laboratory result. If the M-protein levels remain steady and nothing else becomes a concern, appointments and testing times will be further apart as time passes. If the m-protein levels are on the rise, repeat testing may be required along with testing for other possible causes.
Currently, there is no known method for preventing the occurrence of MGUS, as it’s primarily a genetic disease with no external causal factors. Studies indicate that MGUS is the ultimate result, following a series of cascading events. Prevention therapies will have to address the way the body responds to antigenic stimulation, seeking to abort the process when it occurs abnormally.
Where age, race, and genetic predisposition serve as risk factors, only further research may outline methods of prevention. In cases where monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance has not been a result of these factors, studies have linked its progression to an exposure to pesticides and related chemicals. Limiting exposure to these chemicals and wearing proper protective equipment while handling them may reduce the risk of contracting MGUS. As symptoms are minimal, developing as a rash or tingling in the nerves, MGUS usually goes undetected, until another condition prompts a blood test.