Measurement of serum monoclonal components: comparison between densitometry and capillary zone electrophoresis

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Quantitative measurement of serum monoclonal protein (M-protein) is one of the most important tools for monitoring disease activity in monoclonal gammopathies. The aims of this study were to evaluate serum M-protein quantification by capillary zone electrophoresis (CZE) and to compare results with those obtained by densitometric scanning of high-resolution agarose gel electrophoresis (HRE-AGE). The evaluation was carried out on 82 samples from patients with various monoclonal gammopathies. All the suspected M-proteins were confirmed and characterised by immunofixation on agarose gel (IFE). CZE was performed on a Paragon CZETM 2000 system (Beckman Coulter). Passing-Bablok regression was: y (CZE)= 1.27×(HRE-AGE)-5.21 g/L. The correlation coefficient was 0.92. Bland-Altman analysis demonstrated a mean difference of -1.83 g/L (95% CI -0.76 to -2.90) with clear evidence of a concentration-related bias. Densitometry gave higher values at low M-spikes (<20 g/L), whereas CZE gave higher values at large M-spikes (>20 g/L). The concentration-related bias was found to be independent of the immunoglobulin isotype. In conclusion, to compare previous results obtained by M-protein densitometric scanning with those obtained by direct measurement of CZE peaks, the calculation of a univocal transforming factor appears to be unreliable.

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