Diagnostic accuracy of intrathecal kappa free light chains compared with OCBs in MS

Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm. 2020 Jun 11;7(4):e775. doi: 10.1212/NXI.0000000000000775. Print 2020 Jul.


Objective: To determine what kappa free light chain (KFLC) metric has the highest capacity to separate healthy patients from patients with MS, we evaluated the sensitivity, specificity, and the overall diagnostic accuracy of 4 different KFLC metrics. To assess the usefulness of KFLC in the diagnostics of MS, we compared the different KFLC metrics with oligoclonal bands (OCBs), the current gold standard biochemical method to demonstrate intrathecal antibody production.

Methods: CSF and plasma were collected from patients with confirmed or suspected MS, other neurological diseases, as well as symptomatic and healthy controls between May 2017 and May 2018 (n = 335) at the Department of Neurology, Karolinska University Hospital, as part of routine diagnostic workup. KFLC analysis and isoelectric focusing for the detection of oligoclonal bands (OCB) were determined and correlated with diagnosis. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was used to determine accuracy.

Results: OCBs yielded a sensitivity of 87% and a specificity of 100%. All KFLC metrics showed a high sensitivity (89%-95%) and specificity (95%-100%). Using the optimal cutoff according to the Youden Index resulted for the KFLC intrathecal fraction in a cutoff of -0.41 with a sensitivity of 95% and a specificity of 97% and for CSF KFLC/CSF albumin with a cutoff of 1.93 × 10-3 with a sensitivity of 94% and specificity of 100%.

Conclusion: All evaluated KFLC metrics have excellent accuracy, and both KFLC intrathecal fraction and CSF KFLC/CSF albumin are at least as good as OCB in separating patients with MS from a control group.

Classification of evidence: This study provides Class III evidence that CSF KFLC accurately distinguishes patients with MS from healthy controls.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin kappa-Chains* / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin kappa-Chains* / blood
  • Immunoglobulin kappa-Chains* / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / blood
  • Multiple Sclerosis / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnosis*
  • Oligoclonal Bands* / analysis
  • Oligoclonal Bands* / blood
  • Oligoclonal Bands* / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Young Adult


  • Immunoglobulin kappa-Chains
  • Oligoclonal Bands