Advances in MGUS diagnosis, risk stratification, and management: introducing myeloma-defining genomic events

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In the 1960s, Dr Jan Waldenström argued that patients who had monoclonal proteins without any symptoms or evidence of end-organ damage represented a benign monoclonal gammopathy. In 1978, Dr Robert Kyle introduced the concept of “monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance” (MGUS) given that, at diagnosis, it was not possible with available methods (ie, serum protein electrophoresis to define the concentration of M-proteins and microscopy to determine the plasma cell percentage in bone marrow aspirates) to determine which patients would ultimately progress to multiple myeloma. The application of low-input whole-genome sequencing (WGS) technology has circumvented previous problems related to volume of clonal plasma cells and contamination by normal plasma cells and allowed for the interrogation of the WGS landscape of MGUS. As discussed in this chapter, the distribution of genetic events reveals striking differences and the existence of 2 biologically and clinically distinct entities of asymptomatic monoclonal gammopathies. Thus, we already have genomic tools to identify “myeloma-defining genomic events,” and consequently, it is reasonable to consider updating our preferred terminologies. When the clinical field is ready to move forward, we should be able to consolidate current terminologies—from current 7 clinical categories: low-risk MGUS, intermediate-risk MGUS, high-risk MGUS, low-risk smoldering myeloma, intermediate-risk smoldering myeloma, high-risk smoldering myeloma, and multiple myeloma—to future 3 genomic-based categories: monoclonal gammopathy, early detection of multiple myeloma (in which myeloma-defining genomic events already have been acquired), and multiple myeloma (patients who are already progressing and clinically defined cases). Ongoing investigations will continue to advance the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)662-672
Number of pages11
JournalHematology. American Society of Hematology. Education Program
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 10 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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