Myeloma is characterised by the presence of monoclonal immunoglobulin (M-protein) and the free light chain (FLC) in blood. We investigated whether these M-proteins and FLC are detectable in myeloma patients’ saliva to evaluate its utility for non-invasive screening and monitoring of haematological malignancies.
A total of 57 patients with monoclonal gammopathy and 26 age-matched healthy participants provided paired serum and saliva samples for immunoglobulin characterisation and quantification.
Myeloma patients had IgG or IgA M-protein levels ranging up to five times and FLC levels up to a thousand times normal levels of polyclonal immunoglobulins. Despite these highly elevated levels, only two IgG and no IgA M-proteins or FLC could be detected in paired saliva samples. Most patients had reduced levels of serum polyclonal immunoglobulins, but all had normal levels of salivary IgA.
Immunoglobulin transfer from blood is not determined by levels in the systemic circulation and more likely dictated by periodontal inflammation and the integrity of the oral epithelium. Immunoglobulins secreted by bone marrow plasma cells do not substantially enter saliva, which represents a poor medium for myeloma diagnosis. These findings, along with normal salivary IgA levels despite systemic immunoparesis, support a strong partitioning of oral from systemic humoral immunity.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. European Journal of Haematology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
- haematological neoplasms
- immunity, humoral
- immunoglobulin light chains
- multiple myeloma
- plasma cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas