Looking at the urine and blood may be best in diagnosing myeloma
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IMAGE: These are Drs. Gurmukh Singh and Won Sok Lee. view more 

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Credit: Phil Jones, Senior Photographer, Augusta University

AUGUSTA, Ga. (July 13, 2018) -When it comes to diagnosing a condition in which the plasma cells that normally make antibodies to protect us instead become cancerous, it may be better to look at the urine as well as the serum of our blood for answers, pathologists say.

The condition is monoclonal gammopathy, in which immune cells called plasma cells start making just one immunoglobulin, or antibody, instead of their usual vast array. The result can be the cancer multiple myeloma.

“When you test the serum, we suggest you also test the urine whenever you suspect that somebody has a tumor of the plasma cells,” says Dr. Gurmukh Singh, vice chair of clinical affairs for the Department of Pathology at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.

The decades-old urine test is still used by pathologists and requested by physicians, but its use declined when the serum free light chain assay became available about a dozen years ago, Singh says, and some physicians may now think that the urine test is redundant. The different tests look in the serum or urine for signs of the

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