Blood tests for myeloma

Blood tests are an important way to diagnose and to monitor myeloma.

You will have blood tests to help diagnose the type of myeloma and to check how well the myeloma is responding to treatment. 

Some blood tests check the type and level of abnormal immunoglobulin (paraprotein) the myeloma cells are making:

  • Serum protein electrophoresis – This finds if a paraprotein is in the blood and what type it is.
  • Paraprotein level – This measures the amount of paraprotein in the blood.
  • Light chains (serum free light chain assay) – This measures the amount of light chains in the blood.
  • Beta-2 microglobulin level (B2M) – This is a protein on the surface of most cells in the body and the level is often higher in myeloma. Doctors use this test to see how active the myeloma is.

Other tests check how the myeloma is affecting you:

  • Full blood count – This measures the number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets in your blood. These can be low in people with myeloma.
  • Urea and electrolytes (U&Es) test – This shows how your kidneys are working.
  • Calcium level – This measures the level of calcium in the blood. The level of calcium can be raised if the myeloma is affecting your bones. This is called hypercalcaemia.
  • Albumin level – This measures the level of a protein called albumin in the blood. It can be low in people who have myeloma. This is used to help stage myeloma.