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      Disease spectrum of abnormal serum free light chain ratio and its diagnostic significance

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          To analyze the spectrum of abnormal serum free light chain ratio (sFLC κ/λ ratio), and to redefine the range of sFLC κ/λ ratio, so as to achieve hierarchical diagnosis of diseases with abnormal sFLC κ/λ ratio, resulting in the increased sensitivity and specificity in the diagnosis of monoclonal plasma diseases.


          Enrolled 1,340 patients with abnormal sFLC κ/λ ratio (<0.26 or >1.65) were grouped: (1) group A: malignant plasma diseases; (2) group B: monoclonal gammopathies of undetermined significance (MGUS); (3) group C: reactive plasma diseases. These patients were further divided by renal function eGFR <60 or >60 ml/min/1.73m 2 to eliminate renal diseases influencing the results. Statistical analyses was performed by using SPSS 22 software.


          When sFLC κ/λ ratio >3.49 and eGFR >60ml/min/1.73m 2, the sensitivity and specificity of the diagnosis of malignant plasma diseases were 86.1% and 94.0%, respectively. When sFLC κ/λ ratio >2.89 and eGFR <60ml/min/1.73m 2, the sensitivity and specificity of the diagnosis of malignant plasma diseases were 92.0% and 97.0%, respectively.


          The sensitivity and specificity of the diagnosis of monoclonal plasma diseases can be significantly improved by redefining the cut-off value of sFLC κ/λ ratio and the renal function index of eGFR.

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          Most cited references 23

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          Multiple myeloma: 2016 update on diagnosis, risk-stratification, and management.

          Multiple myeloma accounts for approximately 10% of hematologic malignancies.The diagnosis requires ≥10% clonal bone marrow plasma cells or a biopsy proven plasmacytoma plus evidence of one or more multiple myeloma defining events (MDE): CRAB (hypercalcemia, renal failure, anemia, or lytic bone lesions) features felt related to the plasma cell disorder, bone marrow clonal plasmacytosis ≥60%, serum involved/uninvolved free light chain (FLC) ratio ≥100 (provided involved FLC is ≥100 mg/L), or >1 focal lesion on magnetic resonance imaging. Patients with del(17p), t(14;16), and t(14;20) have high-risk multiple myeloma. Patients with t(4;14) translocation and gain(1q) have intermediate-risk. All others are considered standard-risk. Initial treatment consists of bortezomib, lenalidomide, dexamethasone (VRD). In high-risk patients, carfilzomib, lenalidomide, dexamethasone (KRD) is an alternative to VRD. In eligible patients, initial therapy is given for approximately 3-4 months followed by autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT). Standard risk patients can opt for delayed ASCT at first relapse. Patients not candidates for transplant are treated with Rd until progression, or alternatively, a triplet regimen such as VRD for approximately 12-18 months. After ASCT, lenalidomide maintenance is considered for standard risk patients especially in those who are not in very good partial response or better, while maintenance with a bortezomib-based regimen is needed for patients with intermediate or high-risk disease. Patients with indolent relapse can be treated with 2-drug or 3-drug combinations. Patients with more aggressive relapse require a triplet regimen or a combination of multiple active agents. Am. J. Hematol. 91:720-734, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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            Serum free light chain ratio is an independent risk factor for progression in monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance.

            We hypothesized that the presence of monoclonal free kappa or lambda immunoglobulin light chains in monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), as detected by the serum free light chain (FLC) assay increases the risk of progression to malignancy. Of 1384 patients with MGUS from Southeastern Minnesota seen at the Mayo Clinic from 1960 to 1994, baseline serum samples obtained within 30 days of diagnosis were available in 1148. At a median follow-up of 15 years, malignant progression had occurred in 87 (7.6%) patients. An abnormal FLC ratio (kappa-lambda ratio 1.65) was detected in 379 (33%) patients. The risk of progression in patients with an abnormal FLC ratio was significantly higher compared with patients with a normal ratio (hazard ratio, 3.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.3-5.5; P or = 15 g/L) had a risk of progression at 20 years of 58% (high-risk MGUS) versus 37% with any 2 of these risk factors (high-intermediate risk), 21% with one risk factor (low-intermediate risk), and 5% when none of the risk factors were present (low risk).
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              Serum reference intervals and diagnostic ranges for free kappa and free lambda immunoglobulin light chains: relative sensitivity for detection of monoclonal light chains.

              The detection of monoclonal free light chains (FLCs) is an important diagnostic aid for a variety of monoclonal gammopathies and is especially important in light-chain diseases, such as light-chain myeloma, primary systemic amyloidosis, and light-chain-deposition disease. These diseases are more prevalent in the elderly, and assays to detect and quantify abnormal amounts of FLCs require reference intervals that include elderly donors. We used an automated immunoassay for FLCs and sera from a population 21-90 years of age. We used the calculated reference and diagnostic intervals to compare FLC results with those obtained by immunofixation (IFE) to detect low concentrations of monoclonal kappa and lambda FLCs in the sera of patients with monoclonal gammopathies. Serum kappa and lambda FLCs increased with population age, with an apparent change for those >80 years. This trend was lost when the FLC concentration was normalized to cystatin C concentration. The ratio of kappa FLC to lambda FLC (FLC K/L) did not exhibit an age-dependent trend. The diagnostic interval for FLC K/L was 0.26-1.65. The 95% reference interval for kappa FLC was 3.3-19.4 mg/L, and that for lambda FLC was 5.7-26.3 mg/L. Detection and quantification of monoclonal FLCs by nephelometry were more sensitive than IFE in serum samples from patients with primary systemic amyloidosis and light-chain-deposition disease. Reference and diagnostic intervals for serum FLCs have been developed for use with a new, automated immunoassay that makes the detection and quantification of monoclonal FLCs easier and more sensitive than with current methods. The serum FLC assay complements IFE and allows quantification of FLCs in light-chain-disease patients who have no detectable serum or urine M-spike.

                Author and article information

                Impact Journals LLC
                10 October 2017
                19 July 2017
                : 8
                : 47
                : 82268-82279
                1 Department of Hematology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, 430030, China
                2 Department of Clinical Laboratory, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430030, China
                Author notes
                Correspondence to: Yi Tang, tangyi_100@
                Copyright: © 2017 Xu et al.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Research Paper


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