In an observational seroprevalence study reported in Blood Cancer Journal, Zeig-Owens et al found an elevated prevalence of myeloma precursor disease—monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS)—in a cohort of World Trade Center (WTC) disaster–exposed rescue and recovery workers. Previous studies have shown an elevated risk of MGUS among Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) WTC-exposed firefighters.
The study involved findings in serum samples from 1,482 FDNY firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel and 1,181 individuals from a Stony Brook University–General Responder (SBU-GR) cohort, consisting mainly of members of law enforcement and construction workers. Findings in the two cohorts were compared with findings in the general population, represented by a population-based study in Olmsted County, Minnesota.
This study adds to mounting evidence supporting an association between WTC/environmental exposures and MGUS among rescue/recovery workers. Access to MGUS screenings for the entire WTC-exposed cohort could allow for treatment interventions that improve survival.— Zeig-Owens et al
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In logistic regression analysis, the SBU-GR cohort was at increased risk of overall MGUS compared with the FDNY cohort (odds ratio [OR] = 1.38, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.00–1.89). Similar findings were observed for the subgroups of M-spike MGUS and light-chain MGUS.
In the combined FDNY cohort and SBU-GR cohort, the age-standardized prevalence of MGUS was 9.0 (95% CI = 7.5–10.6)/100 persons, representing a two-fold higher risk vs the general population (risk ratio [RR] = 2.08, 95% CI = 1.72–2.51).The risk of light-chain MGUS was greater than three-fold higher (RR = 3.54, 95% CI = 2.52–4.97) and the risk ratio for M-spike MGUS was 1.65 (95% CI = 13.1–2.08). The SBU-GR cohort had higher risk ratios vs the FDNY cohort relative to the general population for overall MGUS (2.55 vs 1.65), light-chain MGUS (4.40 vs 2.71), and M-spike MGUS (2.01 vs 1.34), with the SBU-GR cohort risk ratios for each being statistically significant vs the general population.
The investigators concluded, “This study adds to mounting evidence supporting an association between WTC/environmental exposures and MGUS among rescue/recovery workers. Access to MGUS screenings for the entire WTC-exposed cohort could allow for treatment interventions that improve survival.”
Ola Landgren, MD, PhD, of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Miami Health System, is the corresponding author for the Blood Cancer Journal article.
Disclosure: The study was supported by grants from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and National Cancer Institute. For full disclosures of the study authors, visit nature.com.The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.