Abnormal Heavy/Light Chain Ratio and Matched Pair Suppression Increase Residual Disease Detection Sensitivity in Patients With Multiple Myeloma With Deep Responses

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Abstract

Background

Heavy/light chain (HLC) assay can quantify involved as well as uninvolved immunoglobulin pairs and is used to detect monoclonal proteins.

Patients and Methods

We compared the sensitivity between HLC assay and serum protein electrophoresis, serum immunofixation electrophoresis (IFE), and free light chain (FLC) assay in patients with symptomatic multiple myeloma (n = 111) whose responses were stable disease or better.

Results

Among patients with negative IFE and normal FLC ratios, 84.4% (38 of 45) and 80% (36 of 45) exhibited normal HLC ratios and no pair suppression, respectively (13.3% [6 of 45], moderate pair suppression and 6.7% [3 of 45], severe pair suppression). The lower the monoclonal protein levels, the more the possibility that the patients had normal HLC ratios and no matched pair suppression (both P < .000001). HLC ratios or pair suppression combined with IFE results and FLC ratios were more sensitive for detecting monoclonal proteins than were IFE results and FLC ratios alone (P = .016 and .0039, respectively). A combination of all 4 methods (IFE, FLC, HLC, and pair suppression) was far more sensitive than were IFE findings plus FLC ratios alone (P = .00024).

Conclusion

Abnormal HLC ratios and HLC-matched pair suppression can increase the sensitivity for detecting residual disease in patients with multiple myeloma with deep responses.

Micro-Abstract

Heavy/light chain (HLC) assay can quantify involved as well as uninvolved immunoglobulin pairs. We compared the sensitivity between HLC assay and other examinations in patients with multiple myeloma. The lower the monoclonal protein levels, the more the possibility that the patients had normal HLC ratios and no matched pair suppression. Abnormal HLC ratios and HLC-matched pair suppression can increase the sensitivity.

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