Monoclonal gammopathy of uncertain significance (MGUS) and smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM) are plasma cell disorders with a risk of progression of approximately 1% and 10% per year, respectively. We have previously shown that the proportion of bone marrow (BM) aberrant plasma cells (aPCs) within the BMPC compartment (aPC/BMPC) as assessed by flow cytometry (FC) contributes to differential diagnosis between MGUS and multiple myloma (MM). The goal of the present study was to investigate this parameter as a marker for risk of progression in MGUS (n = 407) and SMM (n = 93). Patients with a marked predominance of aPCs/BMPC (> or = 95%) at diagnosis displayed a significantly higher risk of progression both in MGUS and SMM (P< .001). Multivariate analysis for progression-free survival (PFS) selected the percentage aPC/BMPC (> or = 95%) as the most important independent variable, together with DNA aneuploidy and immunoparesis, for MGUS and SMM, respectively. Using these independent variables, we have identified 3 risk categories in MGUS (PFS at 5 years of 2%, 10%, and 46%, respectively; P< .001) and SMM patients (PFS at 5 years of 4%, 46%, and 72%, respectively; P < .001). Our results show that multiparameter FC evaluation of BMPC at diagnosis is a valuable tool that could help to individualize the follow-up strategy for MGUS and SMM patients.