MULTIPLE MYELOMA KNOWLEDGE CENTER

Beta 2 Microglobulin Test

A beta-2 microglobulin test acts as a tumor marker for certain blood cancers. The test does not diagnose specific diseases; instead, it provides physicians with additional information about a patient’s prognosis.

Beta-2 microglobulin tests are typically conducted in conjunction with a urine test to help determine the prognosis of multiple myeloma. In other words, the results of such tests help doctors determine how advanced a patient’s myeloma is. This information also enables doctors to determine the best likely course of action to fight myeloma.

What is Beta-2 Microglobulin?

Beta-2 microglobulin is a protein produced by malignant myeloma cells. Although this protein itself doesn’t cause problems, it can be a useful indicator of a patient’s prognosis. For example, high B2M levels may mean that the myeloma is more advanced.

What do test results reveal?

While high beta-2 microglobulin levels reveal that there is a problem, the test cannot be used to diagnose a specific disease. Instead, the test indicates the amount of cancer present, as well as how advanced that cancer is. Multiple myeloma patients are likely to have a poorer prognosis if levels of beta-2 microglobulin are high.

Over time, decreasing levels of beta-2 microglobulin in a multiple myeloma patient can indicate that treatment is working. On the other hand, static or increasing B2M can show that the patient is not responding to treatment.