What is a light chain blood test?

A free light chains test measures the amount of lambda and kappa free light chains in the blood. If the amount of free light chains is higher or lower than normal, it can mean you have a disorder of the plasma cells.

What does abnormal free light chains mean?

Decreased free light chains with a normal kappa/lambda ratio may be seen with a disorder that suppresses bone marrow cell production. With suspected primary amyloidosis, an increase in serum free light chains with an abnormal kappa/lambda ratio may suggest that amyloidosis is the cause of symptoms.

Is light chain disease the same as multiple myeloma?

Light chain amyloidosis is also a disorder of abnormal plasma cell growth, but with lower amounts of abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow compared to multiple myeloma. Monoclonal proteins (antibodies) are made up of joined protein chains – 2 short light chains and 2 longer heavy chains.

Is light chain myeloma aggressive?

When myeloma progresses, the myeloma cells start to produce more light chains than heavy chains. This can be measured by the Free Light Chain Assay test on a blood specimen. In general, the higher the free light chains, the more aggressive the disease is.

What is a free light chain lab test?

Immunoglobulin light chains that are circulating in serum in a free (unbound) state are called free light chains (FLCs). Measurement of the serum level of FLCs became practical as a clinical blood test in recent decades. These tests are used as an aid in the diagnosis and monitoring of multiple myeloma and related disorders.

What causes elevated Kappa free light chains?

Elevated kappa and lambda (K/L) free light chain (FLC) may occur due to polyclonal hypergammaglobulinemia or impaired renal clearance. A specific increase in FLC (eg, FLC K:L ratio) must be demonstrated for diagnostic purposes.

What are abnormal free light chains?

The abnormal light chains are called ‘free’ light chains because they are not linked to heavy chains within antibodies , like normal light chains. For further detail on normal antibodies see here. Free light chains exist freely in the bloodstream until they deposit in the organs as amyloid fibrils which then cause organ damage.

What is a free light chain ratio?

The test measures the levels of specific types of free light chains, known as kappa and lambda , and also the ratio between the two. Normal test results for free light chains are: 3.3 to 19.4 mg/L kappa free light chains. 5.71 to 26.3 mg/L lambda free light chains. 0.26 to 1.65 ratio of kappa/lambda.