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J Natl Cancer Inst. 2016 Dec 31;109(5). doi: 10.1093/jnci/djw264. Print 2017 May.

Obesity and the Transformation of Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance to Multiple Myeloma: A Population-Based Cohort Study.

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Affiliations of authors: Research Service, St. Louis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, St. Louis, MO (SHC, SL, TST, KKO, KRC); Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Surgery (SHC, GAC, NPC, KRC), and Division of Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine (SL, KKO, KRC), Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.



Multiple myeloma (MM) is one of the most common hematologic malignancies in the United States and is consistently preceded by monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS). This study investigates the role of obesity in the progression of MGUS to MM.


A retrospective identified cohort of patients in the US Veterans Health Administration database diagnosed with MGUS between October 1, 1999, and December 31, 2009, was followed through August 6, 2013. Patient-level clinical data were reviewed to verify MM diagnosis, if any. Survival analyses utilizing interval-censored data were used to investigate the risk of progression of MGUS to MM. Statistical tests were two-sided.


The analytic cohort consisted of 7878 MGUS patients with a median follow-up of 68 months. Within the cohort, 39.8% were overweight and 33.8% were obese; 64.1% were of white race. During follow-up, 329 MGUS patients (4.2%) progressed to MM: 72 (3.5%) normal-weight patients (median follow-up = 61.9 months), 144 (4.6%) overweight patients (median follow-up = 69.1 months), and 113 (4.3%) obese patients (median follow-up = 70.6 months). In the multivariable analysis, overweight (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.55, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.16 to 2.06) and obesity (HR = 1.98, 95% CI = 1.47 to 2.68) were associated with an increased risk of transformation of MGUS to MM. Moreover, black race was associated with a higher risk of MM (HR = 1.98, 95% CI = 1.55 to 2.54).


Obesity and black race are risk factors for transformation of MGUS to MM. Future clinical trials should examine whether weight loss is a way to prevent the progression to MM in MGUS patients.

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