But all plasma cells make free light chains, not just the cancerous variety, so we all are making certain levels of free light chains, which can be measured using the same lab test. And this is where the death marker usefulness of free light chain measurement comes in, because the free light chain level is a predictor of mortality (death). The correlation of free light chain levels with death is shown in the table below, which gives data on the number of people surviving over a 14 year period based on 3 levels of free light chains, a low, mid and high level.
1. Dispenzieri A et al. Use of Nonclonal Serum Immunoglobulin Free Light Chains to Predict Overall Survival in the General Population. Mayo Clin Proc.87:517-523, 2012
© 2016 Ralph Giorno