Intact Immunoglobulin Multiple Myeloma (IIMM)

96% of IIMM patients have abnormal Freelite® light chain concentrations or kappa/lambda ratio

Some 82% of patients with Multiple Myeloma produce a detectable monoclonal protein of intact immunoglobulin heavy chain type G, A, M, D or E and either light chain kappa or lambda. This paraprotein can be used as a serum marker for diagnosis and levels can be monitored during treatment to assess efficacy.

Measurement of serum free light chains with Freelite® has shown that 96% of patients with Intact Immunoglobulin Multiple Myeloma also have abnormal light chain concentration or abnormal kappa/lambda (κ/λ) ratios in addition to the intact immunoglobulin.1
Concentrations of Freelite® serum free light chains in 314 patients with IgG Myeloma compared with 282 normal sera.
Concentrations of Freelite® serum free light chains in 142 IgA, 36 IgD and 5 IgE Myeloma patients compared with 282 normal sera.


Monitoring of one of the 17 Myeloma patients using IgGκ and Freelite® free κ. Electrophoresis gels are shown for each sample. CVAMP = cyclophosphamide, vincristine, adriamycin, melphalan, prednisolone: HDM: high dose melphalan and stem cell transplant.1

Serial samples from 17 IIMM patients were also studied.1

"Reductions in the concentrations of the intact immunoglobulins and the FLC occurred in parallel in all patients. The extent of change in the FLC concentrations was, however, greater than that of the total intact immunoglobulin in all but one patient. The range of FLC reduction was 2.1-1678-fold (mean 219-fold) whereas the range of total, intact immunoglobulin reduction was 1.5-88-fold (mean 14.6-fold)."

Free light chains (FLC) readily pass through the glomeruli, with a serum half-life of 2-6 hours. In contrast the serum half-life of intact immunoglobulin IgG is 20-25d.

Another study2 analysed the changes in Freelite® serum FLC after autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (PBSCT) in 19 patients.

"The half-life of serum FLC adds only a few hours to the true picture of the tumor killing rate. The rate of fall and range of reduction of FLC varied between individual patients indicating different tumor killing rates and chemosensitivity. By contrast, the concentrations of total and monoclonal immunoglobulin were continuing to fall even after leaving hospital, reflecting the long half-life of serum immunoglobulins."

Serum free light chains (FLC) measurement showed a good degree of correlation with bone marrow assessments of myeloma.3

  Bone Marrow
Freelite® Serum Free Light Chains
Urine Free Light Chains
Serum Immunofixation


Results of the comparison between serum free light chains, urine free light chains, serum immunofixation and bone marrow assessment. The number of patients who had abnormal bone marrows but normal urine FLC illustrates the increased sensitivity of Freelite® serum FLC measurements.

Ordering information for Freelite® assays  

Freelite® is a valuable tool at all stages of patient management. It is useful when screening to support an initial diagnosis. It adds valuable prognosis  information and can be used throughout treatment management as a reliable monitoring tool.

  1. G. P. Mead, et al. Serum Free Light Chains for Monitoring Multiple Myeloma. British Journal of Haematology 2004; 126: 348-354
  2. GP Mead, et al. Comparison of serum and urine free light chain measurements with bone marrow assessments in multiple myeloma. Haematologica / the hematology journal 2005; 90(s1): 108(PO.407)
  3. Hobbs JR. Growth Rates and Responses to Treatment in Human Myelomatosis. British Journal of Haematology 1969;16: 607-17