BY ROY ALBERT ANDRADE, K1LLER, Inc.
BRONX, NEW YORK - A study in yesterday's issue of JAMA Oncology, a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal, reported that the FDNY firefighters who responded to the 9/11 World Trade Center disaster site upped their risk for developing myeloma precursor disease (MGUS), which can contribute to multiple myeloma, a blood cancer. Researchers of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Health System, the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center conducted the study. Previous studies suggest that MGUS and multiple myeloma all tend to develop after exposure to toxic chemicals.
"With our 2011 study in The Lancet, we were the first to show that first responders were more likely to get many different types of cancer," said senior co-author David J. Prezant, M.D., a professor of medicine at Einstein, a pulmonary disease specialist at Montefiore and chief medical officer of the FDNY. "We carried out this new study to do more than just treat cancer. We wanted to find early, predictive signs of cancer that would allow us to screen people and monitor those found to be at risk. By detecting MGUS, which predicts the development of multiple myeloma, we are able to do that."
"We saw a significantly higher incidence of MGUS in these first responders, and they're developing it at a young age," said the study's senior co-author Amit Verma, M.B.B.S., a professor of medicine and of developmental & molecular biology at Einstein and director of hematologic malignancies at the Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care. Their early development of MGUS, he says, suggests that these firefighters potentially face an increased risk for early-onset of multiple myeloma as well.
Shawn W. Anderson