(HealthDay News) — Patients with monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) have increased hospital activity unrelated to hematology for several years before diagnosis, according to a study presented at the 2019 National Cancer Research Institute Cancer Conference, held from November 3 to 5 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Maxine Lamb, PhD, from the University of York in the United Kingdom, and colleagues compared hospital activity for 2219 patients with MGUS and 22,190 age-, sex-, and area-matched controls in the general population. Hospital activity included inpatient and outpatient visits from five years before to three years after diagnosis.

The researchers found that patients with MGUS had significantly higher hospital activity rates than controls during the study period. Monthly attendance rates averaged 31 and 16 visits per 100 persons among patients with MGUS and controls, respectively, before diagnosis (approximately a 1.9-fold higher likelihood). Outpatient attendance was a driver for the difference; after diagnosis, activity in patients with MGUS remained high. Outpatient specialties with high activity before diagnosis were similar to those found after and included rheumatology, orthopedics, dermatology, and nephrology. In other hematological malignancies or precursor conditions, this unusual pattern of activity was not seen.

“Previous research suggests that myeloma patients whose MGUS had been diagnosed have better survival,” Lamb said in a statement. “This study suggests a possible way to spot more cases of MGUS and this could give us the opportunity to try to diagnose more cases of myeloma, and some types of lymphoma, at an earlier stage.”

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