Detection of myeloma progression (PD) relies on serial 24-h urinary M protein measurements in patients without measurable serum M spike. We examined whether serial difference free light chain (dFLC) levels could be used as a surrogate for serial 24-h urine M protein measurements in monitoring for PD in patients with baseline measurable urine M protein. We studied 122 patients who had serial measurement of urine M protein and serum FLC and had demonstrated PD. The median increase in dFLC with progression as defined by urine M spike was 110% (IQR: 55-312) and median absolute increase was 74 mg/dL; while 89% of patients had dFLC increase ≥ 25%, 94% had absolute increase in dFLC > 10 mg/dL, and 98% met at least 1 of these 2 criteria at PD. In patients with baseline measurable serum FLC (n = 118), 89% had increase in dFLC ≥ 25%, 97% had dFLC increase of > 10 mg/dL, and 98% had 1 of the 2. We conclude that serial dFLC assessments can be used in place of serial 24-h urine protein assessments during myeloma surveillance to monitor for PD. Once patients have an absolute increase in dFLC of >10 mg/dL from the nadir, a 24-h urine collection can then be assessed to document PD as per the International Myeloma Working Group criteria.
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