Monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance (MGUS) is a blood
condition in which a person's body makes too many of the same type of protein
that fight infections.
The blood has a large number of different
proteins called the plasma proteins. One type of protein is called gamma
globulin. Normally, many different types of gamma globulin are made to fight
different infections. When most of the protein being made is all from cells of
the original (clone) gamma globulin protein, this is called monoclonal
gammopathy. Most people with MGUS have a low monoclonal protein level.
Generally, MGUS does not cause symptoms or major health problems. It is
often found by chance when lab tests are done for other reasons, such as to
measure the level of protein in the blood. Monoclonal antibodies can attach to
nerves and cause numbness, tingling, and weakness. Most people with MGUS are
fine for many years and do not need any treatment. In some cases MGUS can
change and progress to a cancer, such as multiple myeloma, macroglobulinemia,
or B-cell lymphoma.
People who have MGUS may need a physical exam,
blood tests, and urine tests two times a year to see if it is progressing to
cancer so that treatment can be started early.
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Joseph O'Donnell, MD - Hematology, Oncology
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