Individuals who worked as rescue or recovery workers after the World Trade Center (WTC) terrorist attacks demonstrated an increased risk for developing monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), according to the results of a study published in the Blood Cancer Journal.

“This study adds to mounting evidence supporting an association between WTC/environmental exposures and MGUS among rescue/recovery workers,” the authors wrote in their report.

An association was previously identified between MGUS and firefighters from the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) who were involved in the WTC rescue efforts. The aim of this study was to determine if the association was present in a more heterogeneous population of WTC rescue and recovery workers.

Continue Reading

This observational study evaluated data from the Stony Brook University-General Responder Cohort GRC (SBU-GRC) of 1181 rescue and recovery workers. General population estimates were determined from published data from the Olmsted County, MN, USA cohort.

The majority of individuals in the SBU-GRC cohort were White (92.0%) and overweight (39.6%) or obese (53.8%). There were 34.9% of individuals who were former smokers and 4.3% who were current smokers. Dust cloud exposure was reported for 19.2% of the cohort.

MGUS was more likely to occur among individuals in the SBU-GRC cohort compared with firefighters from the FDNY cohort (odds ratio [OR], 1.38; 95% CI, 1.00-1.89).

The SBU-GRC cohort had a higher prevalence of MGUS compared with the general population (risk ratio [RR], 2.55; 95% CI, 2.04-3.18). The prevalence of MGUS was also higher in the FDNY cohort (RR, 1.65; 95% CI, 1.26-2.16).

“Further investigations are needed to better understand the observed higher prevalence among SBU-GRC participants [vs the FDNY participants],” the authors wrote.

The risk for light-chain MGUS was particularly high in both the SBU-GRC (RR, 4.40; 95% CI, 2.97-6.51) and FDNY (RR, 2.71; 95% CI, 1.70-4.33) cohorts. Dust cloud exposure was not associated with increased odds for MGUS (OR, 1.15; 95% CI, 0.78-1.70).

The authors concluded that there is “a doubling in risk of overall MGUS and an over 3.5-fold elevated risk of light-chain MGUS suggesting unambiguous associations between environmental exposures present at the WTC disaster site and myeloma precursor disease.”

Disclosures: Some of the study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.


Zeig-Owens R, Goldfarb DG, Luft BJ, et al. Myeloma precursor disease (MGUS) among rescue and recovery workers exposed to the World Trade Center disaster. Blood Cancer J. 2022;12:120. doi: 10.1038/s41408-022-00709-2