Background: Serum free light chain (sFLC) measurements are increasingly important in the context of screening for monoclonal gammopathies, prognostic stratification, and monitoring of therapy responses. At the same time, analytical limitations have been reported with the currently available nephelometric and turbidimetric sFLC assays. We have evaluated a new quantitative sFLC ELISA for its suitability in routine clinical use.
Methods: Reference ranges of the Sebia FLC assay were calculated from 208 controls. Assay interference, reproducibility, lot-to-lot variability, and linearity were assessed. Method comparison to the Freelite assay (Binding Site) was conducted by retrospective analysis of 501 patient sera.
Results: Reference ranges of the Sebia κ/λFLC-ratio were 0.37-1.44. We observed good sensitivity (1.5 mg/L) and linearity in both polyclonal and monoclonal sFLC samples and never experienced antigen excess. Sebia FLC reproducibility varied between 6.7% and 8.1% with good lot-to-lot consistency. Method comparison with Freelite showed the following correlations: κFLC R=0.94, λFLC R=0.92 and κ/λFLC-ratio R=0.96. The clinical concordance of the κ/λFLC-ratio of both methods was 94%. Significant quantitative differences were observed between both methods, mainly in sera with high FLC concentrations. The Sebia monoclonal FLC concentrations were coherent with those obtained by serum protein electrophoresis (SPE). Freelite monoclonal FLC concentrations were consistently higher, with a mean 12-fold overestimation compared to SPE.
Conclusions: The Sebia FLC assay provides a novel platform for sensitive and accurate sFLC measurements. The Sebia FLC showed good clinical concordance with Freelite. Further studies are warranted to confirm the clinical value of this assay.
Keywords: ELISA; electrophoresis; free light chains; monoclonal gammopathy; multiple myeloma; serum protein electrophoresis.