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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention

Multiple Myeloma

DCEG researchers conduct studies on multiple myeloma, a type of cancer that affects plasma cells (white blood cells that produce antibodies), and the precursor condition, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS).

Selected studies of multiple myeloma and its precursor MGUS include:

Biomarkers of Exposure and Effect in Agriculture (BEEA) Study

Relative to the general public, a higher incidence of multiple myeloma has been observed in agricultural workers, including participants in the Agricultural Health Study (AHS). Prevalence of the multiple myeloma precursor monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) has also been reported to be elevated in a small subset of male AHS pesticide applicators.

DCEG researchers conducted a molecular epidemiologic substudy within the AHS, the Biomarkers of Exposure and Effect in Agriculture (BEEA) study, to further investigate the prevalence of MGUS and evaluate pesticides and other agricultural exposures associated with this myeloma precursor. Data and biospecimens (including blood, urine, buccal cells, and house dust) were collected from over 1,600 male pesticide applicators. 

For more information, contact Dr. Jonathan Hofmann.

Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial

Previous work in the PLCO Cancer Screening Trial has demonstrated that multiple myeloma is consistently preceded by MGUS. Within PLCO, DCEG investigators are conducting nested studies of multiple myeloma risk and progression from MGUS to multiple myeloma for selected immune- and obesity-related markers to better understand the etiology and natural history of this malignancy.

For more information, contact Dr. Jonathan Hofmann.

Case-Control Studies of Multiple Myeloma and Cancers of the Pancreas and Prostate among Blacks and Whites in the United States

U.S. blacks are at greater risk for these diseases than whites. The NCI and collaborators in New Jersey, Detroit, and Atlanta carried out a large-scale investigation to identify risk factors for these diseases among blacks and whites resident in these areas. Data have been collected from more than 2,000 cases (multiple myeloma, 587; pancreas 527; prostate, 1,000) and 2,100 controls approximately equally divided between blacks and whites. Investigators have studied the roles of potential risk factors including occupational exposures, tobacco, alcohol, dietary and nutritional factors, viruses, medical conditions, and socioeconomic status.

For more information, contact Dr. Debra Silverman.