Clin Chim Acta. 2023 Nov 17:117634. doi: 10.1016/j.cca.2023.117634. Online ahead of print.
To determine the disease status and the response to treatment for patients with multiple myeloma, measuring serum M-protein levels is a widely used alternative to invasive punctures to count malignant plasma cells in the bone marrow. However, the quantification of this monoclonal antibody, which varies from patient to patient, poses significant analytical challenges. This paper describes a sensitive and specific mass spectrometry assay that addresses two objectives: to overcome the potential interference of biotherapeutics in the measurement of M-proteins, and to determine the depth of response to treatment by assessing minimal residual disease. After immunocapture of immunoglobulins and free light chains in serum, heavy and light chains were dissociated by chemical reduction and separated by liquid chromatography. M-proteins were analyzed by high-resolution mass spectrometry using a method combining a full MS scan for isotyping and identification and a targeted single ion monitoring scan for quantification. This method was able to discriminate M-protein from the therapeutic antibody in all patient samples analyzed and allowed quantification of M-protein with a LLOQ of 2.0 to 3.5 µg/ml in 5 out of 6 patients. This methodology appears to be promising for assessing minimal residual disease with sufficient sensitivity, specificity, and throughput.