Background: We report a case of a patient with immunoglobulin A multiple myeloma associated with a masked kappa light chain. Serum immunofixation showed a monoclonal band in the IgA heavy chain lane without corre-spondence with the light chain and a monoclonal band in total kappa light chain lane without correspondence with the heavy chain.
Methods: To distinguish between heavy chain disease and immunoglobulin with "masked" light chains, two tubes containing the patient’s serum were incubated with a very high concentration of anti-total kappa and anti-total lambda antisera for 48 hours at 4°C in order to facilitate immunoprecipitation of the involved light chain. After centrifugation, the supernatant was analyzed by using the IFs method on the Hydrasys 2 Scan Focusing Sebia® without dilution. Then we applied the anti-IgA, anti-total kappa and anti-total lambda antisera.
Results: The serum immunofixation test of the sample treated with a high concentration of anti-total kappa showed the disappearance of the monoclonal bands corresponding to IgA heavy chain lane and kappa light chain lane, indicating that precipitation had occurred and that the IgA did have kappa light chains that could not be detected by the standard immunofixation protocol. The serum immunofixation test of the sample treated with anti-total lambda showed the disappearance of the polyclonal background in lambda light chain lane, confirming that the precipitation with lambda light chains according to the previously mentioned protocol has done well.
Conclusions: This case illustrates some of the difficulties encountered and the corrective actions that can be taken for the detection of immunoglobulins with masked light chains.