The immunological bone marrow (BM) microenvironment plays a major role in controlling growth and survival of clonal plasma cells (PC); this might translate into different patterns of expression of molecules involved in immune responses on PC from different types of monoclonal gammopathies (MG). We have studied the expression of a group of nine such molecules on both BMPC and the plasma of 61 newly diagnosed MG patients (30 MG of undetermined significance (MGUS), 27 multiple myeloma (MM) and four plasma cell leukemia (PCL)) and five normal individuals. Clonal PC from all MG displayed significantly increased levels of CD56, CD86 and CD126, and decreased amounts of CD38 (P<0.001). Additionally, HLA-I and beta2-microglobulin were abnormally highly expressed in MGUS, while CD40 expression was decreased in MM and PCL (P<0.05). Interestingly, a progressive increase in the soluble levels of beta2-microglobulin was found from MGUS to MM and PCL patients (P=0.03). In contrast, all groups showed similar surface and soluble amounts of CD126, CD130 and CD95, except for increased soluble levels of CD95 observed in PCL. Overall, those phenotypic differences are consistent with increased antigen presentation and costimulatory capacities in MGUS, which progressively deteriorate in malignant MG (MM and PCL).