Serum free immunoglobulin light chain evaluation as a marker of impact from intraclonal heterogeneity on myeloma outcome

Annamaria Brioli, Hannah Giles, Charlotte Pawlyn, John P. Campbell, Martin F. Kaiser, Lorenzo Melchor, Graham H. Jackson, Walter M. Gregory, Roger G. Owen, J. Anthony Child, Faith E. Davies, Michele Cavo, Mark T. Drayson, Gareth J. Morgan

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66 Citations (SciVal)


Intraclonal heterogeneity was recently described in multiple myeloma (MM), but its full impact on disease progression and relapse has not been entirely explored. The immunoglobulin type produced by myeloma cells provides an excellent marker to follow changes in clonal substructure over time. We have prospectively evaluated serial paraprotein and serum free light chain (FLC) measurements and found that 258 of 520 and 54 of 520 patients who presented with a whole paraprotein relapsed with paraprotein only (PO) and "FLC escape," respectively. The median overall survival of PO patients was longer, when compared with patients whose relapse manifested as an increase in FLC both alone and with a whole paraprotein, as a result of a significantly shorter survival from relapse of the latter groups. These observations fit a model in which 1 clone is able to produce a complete antibody, whereas the other secretes only FLC; the type of relapse represents the outgrowth of different clones, some of which are more resistant to therapy. To our knowledge, this is the largest series describing patients who have relapsed with FLC escape and highlights the importance of monitoring FLC when there is a suspicion of clinical relapse. This study was registered at as ISRCTN68454111.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3414-3419
Number of pages6
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2014


  • Biomarkers
  • Clonal Evolution
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin Light Chains
  • Models, Biological
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Paraproteins
  • Recurrence
  • Remission Induction
  • Treatment Outcome


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