Diagnostic performance of quantitative κ and λ free light chain assays in clinical practice

Jerry A. Katzmann, Roshini S. Abraham, Angela Dispenzieri, John A. Lust, Robert A. Kyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

224 Scopus citations


Background: The quantitative assay for free light chains (FLCs) is a recently introduced commercial test reported to be sensitive and specific for detecting FLC diseases such as primary systemic amyloidosis (AL), light chain deposition disease (LCDD), nonsecretory multiple myeloma (NSMM), and light chain multiple myeloma. We evaluated its diagnostic performance in clinical practice. Methods: All FLC clinical test results generated in 2003 were abstracted from the Laboratory Information System. Diagnoses were obtained from the Dysproteinemia database and the patient medical history. Results: In 2003, we received samples for FLC assays from 1020 Mayo Clinic patients. The majority of these patients (88%) had bone marrow-derived monoclonal plasma cell disorders (PCDs). The 121 patients who did not have monoclonal gammopathy all had FLC κ/λ ratios within the range of values obtained for a reference population in our laboratory. Among the patients with monoclonal gammopathies were patients with multiple myeloma (330), AL (269), monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (114), smoldering multiple myeloma (72), plasmacytoma (22), NSMM (20), macroglobulinemia (9), LCDD (7), and a variety of other PCDs. Among the 110 AL patients who had not been previously treated and who had a FLC assay performed within 120 days of diagnosis, the FLC κ/λ ratio was positive in 91% compared with 69% for serum immunofixation electrophoresis (IFE) and 83% for urine IFE. The combination of serum IFE and serum FLC assay detected an abnormal result in 99% (109 of 110) of patients with AL. Conclusion: The performance of the FLC assay in this analysis of clinical laboratory data is consistent with results from published retrospective validation studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)878-881
Number of pages4
JournalClinical chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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