With 80,000 Participants, the Largest Study of Its Kind Is the First to Evaluate the Benefits of Screening for a Precursor to the Blood Cancer Multiple Myeloma

Published by W Butcher on

The IMF-funded iStopMM study (Iceland Screens, Treats, or Prevents Multiple Myeloma) is the largest study of its kind, with a record-setting 80,759 participants. A cancer of the bone marrow plasma cells, multiple myeloma is always preceded by a condition called MGUS, in which an abnormal protein appears in the blood. Doctors do not currently screen asymptomatic individuals for this blood cancer precursor. The iStopMM study examines the potential benefits versus the potential harms of screening for MGUS. The study’s leader, Dr. Sigurdur Kristinsson of the University of Iceland, compared screening for precancerous myeloma to screening currently done for precancerous cervical cancer and breast cancer. “Understanding the epidemiologic, genetic, and immunologic factors that go along with an increased risk of myeloma’s progression could open the door to early intervention efforts in high-risk patients and possible preventive strategies,” he said. “This would improve overall survival and quality of life for patients worldwide.”

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