Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS ) is the presence of an abnormal protein called monoclonal (M) protein in the blood. M protein is produced by plasma cells, a specific type of white blood cell, in the bone marrow. Having M protein in the blood is normal, however a higher than normal amount can occasionally cause health problems and in rare cases it can turn into blood cancer. M protein can also lead to an increase in blood clots, bone fractures, and kidney problems.
While the specific cause of this condition is unknown, the accumulation of M protein may be due to genetic changes and environmental factors. Older people, African-Americans, and men are at greater risk for MGUS.
There are usually no symptoms of MGUS, though some people have rashes, numbness, or tingling. Due to its lack of symptoms, MGUS is usually diagnosed by chance when a person receives a blood test for another reason. If the doctor detects this condition, individuals may be given additional tests to determine exactly how much M protein is being made in the body. In order to narrow down the diagnosis and rule out other causes, individuals may be given additional blood tests, urine tests, imaging tests, and bone marrow tests.
MGUS does not often require treatment, though individuals with this condition should get frequent checkups to monitor their health. Usually, doctors will watch for pain, fatigue, weight loss, fever, night sweats, anemia, and heart and kidney problems to determine if MGUS is developing into a more serious condition. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with MGUS, talk to your doctor about your options. Support groups are also a good resource for information.
Description Last Updated: Aug 25, 2018