Background: Determination and quantification of serum free light chains (FLC) is essential for the diagnosis and monitoring of patients with monoclonal gammopathies. Currently, the Freelite assay (The Binding Site, United Kingdom) and the N Latex FLC assay (Siemens Healthineers, Germany) are available for FLC determination. Data concerning stability of FLC following long-term storage are limited. Therefore, the aim of the present study is to investigate the stability of FLC in frozen samples determined by the N latex FLC assay.
Methods: One hundred eighty-eight serum samples from 47 patients with monoclonal gammopathies were analyzed at the beginning and after long-term storage (-20°C, 193 - 568 days). Serum free light chain kappa (κFLC) and lambda (λFLC) concentrations were measured, and the corresponding kappa/lambda (κ/λ FLC) ratios were calculated. All samples were analyzed with the N latex FLC assay on a single BNII System.
Results: Comparison analyses between fresh and stored samples revealed very strong correlations for the determination of κFLC (r = 0.993), λFLC (r = 0.998) and the calculated κ/λ FLC ratio (r = 0.997). Median percentage changes of κFLC (-0.5%) and λFLC (-0.8%) measurements and the calculated κ/λ FLC ratios (-3.7%) were within the calculated analytical imprecision of the FLC assay. Changes of κFLC (r = 0.17, p = 0.02) and λFLC (r = 0.28, p < 0.01) concentrations and of the κ/λ FLC ratio (r = 0.18, p = 0.01) over time were very weak, but statistically significant.
Conclusions: Serum free light chains in serum samples are sufficiently stable following long-term frozen storage and are therefore suitable to be measured with the N Latex FLC assay.