>> Monday, March 13, 2017
We know that carrying excess weight is a risk factor for many types of cancer, including colon, breast, liver, kidney, and several others. A new study suggests that in people who carry a risk factor for multiple myeloma called MGUS, having excess body weight increases the risk of developing multiple myeloma.
MGUS stands for Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance. When people have MGUS, their bone marrow makes too much of one type of white blood cell, which makes this MGUS protein. In most cases, MGUS does not lead to any problems, but in some cases, MGUS can progress to a cancer called multiple myeloma.
The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, analyzed data on 7,878 patients from the US Veterans Affairs database (predominantly men), diagnosed with MGUS. Over a median of 5-6 years, they found that 4.6% of patients with overweight and 4.3% of patients with obesity went on to develop multiple myeloma, compared with only 3.5% of patients with normal weight.
In the multivariable analysis that controls for other factors, they found that patients with overweight and obesity with MGUS had a 55% and 98% higher risk of progression to multiple myeloma, respectively, than normal-weight patients with MGUS.
I have seen many online agencies reporting on this study leading with titles like 'Weight Loss May Help Prevent Multiple Myeloma'. While this study does suggest that carrying excess weight increases the risk of multiple myeloma, this does not prove that weight loss decreases the risk. Additional studies need to be done to understand whether healthy weight loss in people with MGUS helps to prevent progression to multiple myeloma.
Follow me on twitter! @drsuepedersen
www.drsue.ca © 2017