Both multiple myeloma and its precursor, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), occur twice as often within Black compared with White populations, suggesting that racial disparities lie within the development of MGUS. Nonetheless, MGUS has been studied mainly in White cohorts; the study that first described the natural history of MGUS was conducted in 97.3% White Olmsted County, Minnesota.


We determined the prevalence of MGUS among 386 Black South African (SA) men >30 years at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg. We conducted serum protein electrophoresis and free light chain quantification to define MGUS by the same criteria as the Olmsted County studies. We also investigated the association between MGUS and various clinical factors, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and smoking.


We found the prevalence of MGUS to be 8.03% [95% confidence interval (CI), 5.32–10.74], nearly 1.6-fold higher than in the White Olmsted County male population. In a univariable logistic regression model, MGUS was associated with HIV status (OR, 2.39; 95% CI, 0.95–5.49), but in an adjusted model that included body mass index and cigarette use, the association was not statistically significant. Those who were current (vs. never) cigarette smokers were more likely to have MGUS in both univariable (OR, 5.60; 95% CI, 2.16–17.42) and multivariable models (OR, 4.49; 95% CI, 1.63–14.56).


The prevalence of MGUS in Black SA men is substantially higher than in White populations and may be associated with HIV status and cigarette use.


Racial disparities in MGUS exist and may be associated with potentially modifiable risk factors.

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