Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) is a clinically asymptomatic premalignant plasma cell disorder. Previous studies in Western countries have described the prevalence of MGUS in Caucasians. However, data is limited in Chinese population. We therefore performed this study to ascertain the prevalence and characteristics of MGUS among Chinese population.


A total of 154597 consecutive healthy participants from Beijing who underwent annual physical examination between December 2013 and April 2019 at Peking Union Medical College Hospital were enrolled. Serum M protein was evaluated by capillary electrophoresis. Patients with a positive or suspicious serum M protein were suggested to be referred to the hematological clinic for immunofixation electrophoresis (IFE) and free light chain (FLC) assays. MGUS was defined in accordance with previous definitions. We calculated age-specific and sex-specific prevalence and described laboratory characteristics of patients with MGUS among those participants.


MGUS were diagnosed in 843 patients (0.55%, 95%CI 0.51% to 0.59%). The median age at presentation was 58 years, with a range of 25-96 years. The overall prevalence of MGUS was 1.14% among participants aged 50 years or older and 2.6% among those aged 70 years or older. In both sexes, the prevalence increased with age: 0.1% (<40 years), 0.36% (40-49 years), 0.78% (50-59 years), 1.28% (60-69 years), 2.19% (70-79 years), and 3.77% (≥80 years) separately (Figure 1). The prevalence among men were higher than that among women (0.67% vs. 0.40%, OR =1.719, 95% CI 1.490 to 1.983, P<0.001) (Figure 1).

The median concentration of serum Monoclonal protein was 1.4 g/L (0.1 -27.8 g/L). M protein level was less than 0.5g/L in 220 patients (26.1%), less than 5 g/L in 81.1% and more than 15 g/L in only 1.9% of 843 persons. There was no significant difference in the concentration of the monoclonal protein among the age groups. Of the 519 patients who were tested for IFE, the isotype of the monoclonal immunoglobulin was IgG in 344 (66.3%), IgA 112 (21.6%), IgM in 48 (9.2%), IgD in 2 (0.4%), light-chain in 3 (0.6%) and biclonal in 10 (1.9%). The serum light-chain type was kappa in 260 (50.1%), lambda in 255 (49.1%) patients, while 4 patients (0.8%) with biclonal M protein have both kappa and lambda light-chain. Of the 180 people who were tested for FLC, 42 (23.3%) had an abnormal FLC ratio. IgG isotype, M protein <15 g/L and normal FLC ratio were found in 102 patients (56.7%) and the remaining 78 people (43.4%) had 1(30.6%) or 2(12.8%) abnormal factors.


MGUS was found in 1.14% of persons 50 years of age or older and 2.6% among those 70 years of age or older among healthy Chinese population. The prevalence of MGUS increases with age. Males have a higher frequency of MGUS than Females. These observations offer the overall situation of MGUS epidemiology in a large Chinese population.


No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.

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