Background: We analyzed serial data in patients with clinically stable monoclonal gammopathy to determine the total variation of serum M-spikes [measured with serum protein electrophoresis (SPEP)], urine M-spikes [measured with urine protein electrophoresis (UPEP)], and monoclonal serum free light chain (FLC) concentrations measured with immunoassay.
Methods: Patients to be studied were identified by (a) no treatment during the study interval, (b) no change in diagnosis and <5 g/L change in serum M-spike over the course of observation; (c) performance of all 3 tests (SPEP, UPEP, FLC immunoassay) in at least 3 serial samples that were obtained 9 months to 5 years apart; (d) serum M-spike ≥10 g/L, urine M-spike ≥200 mg/24 h, or clonal FLC ≥100 mg/L. The total CV was calculated for each method.
Results: Among the cohort of 158 patients, 90 had measurable serum M-spikes, 25 had urine M-spikes, and 52 had measurable serum FLC abnormalities. The CVs were calculated for serial SPEP M-spikes (8.1%), UPEP M-spikes (35.8%), and serum FLC concentrations (28.4%). Combining these CVs and the interassay analytical CVs, we calculated the biological CV for the serum M-spike (7.8%), urine M-spike (35.5%), and serum FLC concentration (27.8%).
Conclusions: The variations in urine M-spike and serum FLC measurements during patient monitoring are similar and are larger than those for serum M-spikes. In addition, in this group of stable patients, a measurable serum FLC concentration was available twice as often as a measurable urine M-spike.