Serum interleukin-6 has no discriminatory role in paraproteinaemia nor a prognostic role in multiple myeloma

Br J Haematol. 1999 Oct;107(1):132-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2141.1999.01669.x.


We determined interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels in the serum of 212 well-defined patients with newly diagnosed paraproteinaemia and evaluated its discriminatory value and prognostic role in multiple myeloma (MM). Results were compared with serum neural cell adhesion molecule and beta-2-microglobulin, both established prognostic MM markers. Paraproteinaemia-related diagnoses were: MM (60), other haematological diseases (46), solid tumours (35), autoimmune diseases (17) and monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance (MGUS) (54). The range of IL-6 levels in all diagnostic groups overlapped widely and did not serve as a discriminatory marker in newly diagnosed paraproteinaemia even when patients with infection or fever (42) were excluded. In MM high IL-6 levels (>/= 50 pg/ml) were not associated with a shorter survival (P = 0.24). We compared our results with 20 published studies on serum IL-6 in paraproteinaemia and/or MM. IL-6 data have to be related to the assay used (bio- or immunoassay) and to the status of MM (newly diagnosed, during therapy, progressive disease). We conclude that serum IL-6 is not specific for paraproteinaemia-related diseases and will not serve as a reliable discriminatory or prognostic marker in paraproteinaemia and MM.

MeSH terms

  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / blood*
  • Multiple Myeloma / diagnosis
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / blood
  • Paraproteinemias / diagnosis*
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Analysis
  • beta 2-Microglobulin / blood


  • Interleukin-6
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • beta 2-Microglobulin
  • C-Reactive Protein