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What Is A "Precursor Condition" for Myloma?

Precursor conditions are early phases of blood conditions that may or may not ever develop into cancers such as lymphoma, leukemia, Waldenström macroglobulinemia, and multiple myeloma.

The PROMISE Study is looking to screen family members of people who have either myeloma or one of these Precursor Conditions:


Most people with precursor conditions do not experience symptoms, and since doctors rarely screen for them, precursor conditions are often never detected until it has progressed to a more advanced stage that causes symptoms. We're offering early screening as part of this study.

The PROMISE Study is enrolling family members of people who have been diagnosed with either myeloma or one of these precursor conditions. We are also enrolling African Americans because both of these groups have a higher likelihood of having a precursor condition. We'd like to study people have never been diagnosed to learn more about how myeloma does and does not progress. Visit here to join The PROMISE.

In addition to the PROMISE Study, we offer an alternative study called PCROWD for people who have already been diagnosed with a precursor condition. We encourage you to visit the PCROWD site and enroll if you think you are eligible.

Not every person diagnosed with a precursor condition will be develop a blood cancer, but many cases of blood cancers do develop from precursor conditions. Learn more about these precursor conditions below.

What is MGUS or Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance?

MGUS is a pre-cancer condition in which abnormal proteins are found in the blood. These abnormal proteins are made by infection-fighting white blood cells in the bone marrow. By itself, this protein usually causes no health problems, and most people are unaware they have MGUS until it is diagnosed in a routine blood test.

Is MGUS dangerous? Some people with MGUS never develop any problems from it, but for others it progresses to multiple myeloma. 

Is MGUS common? About 3% of all people aged 50 and above have MGUS that is detectable through a blood test.  Those percentages are generally 2-3 times higher for African Americans and for people who have a close family member who has multiple myeloma. 

What is Smoldering Multiple Myeloma?

Smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM) is a warning sign for multiple myeloma. People who have this condition have abnormal proteins in the blood and abnormal cells in the bone marrow. Smoldering multiple myeloma typically develops after monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS).

Is smoldering multiple myeloma dangerous? Some people with smoldering multiple myeloma never develop any problems from it, but for others, SMM progresses to multiple myeloma.  One study found that 75 percent of patients with smoldering multiple myeloma develop myeloma within 15 years of diagnosis.

What is Waldenström's macroglobulinemia?

Sometimes called Waldenström's, Waldenström's Syndrome, or WM

Waldenström's macroglobulinemia is a rare white blood cell cancer. It is a slow-growing type that forms mostly in the bone marrow. It can slow down your body's ability to make healthy blood cells, which may lead to anemia and a weakened ability fight infections. 

Is Waldenström's dangerous? At this time, WM is not curable, but people can live for decades after diagnosis. There are also effective treatments that can slow the progress or cause remission.  Many people live with it for years before developing noticeable problems. Patients often report no symptoms when they are diagnosed, frequently during a routine blood test.

Over time, symptoms that may develop include an enlarged liver, spleen, or lymph nodes, headaches, fatigue, weight loss, bruising, and nerve damage.


Nearly every person who develops this incurable cancer called Waldenström's macroglobulinemia had MGUS or SWM before developing cancer. (SWM stands for Smoldering Waldenström's macroglobulinemia)

SWM and MGUS are pre-cancerous conditions.  Although "watchful waiting" is appropriate for many people, this study aims to identify the most effective ways to prevent, treat and cure these cancers that can turn fatal.

Please join The PROMISE if you are eligible. Thank you!


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