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Analytical Cellular Pathology
Volume 25, Issue 4, Pages 167-171

Quantitation of Monoclonal Plasma Cells in Bone Marrow Biopsies in Plasma Cell Dyscrasia

G. M. Markey,1 P. Kettle,1 T. C. M. Morris,1 N. Connolly,1 and H. Foster2

1Haematology Department, Belfast City Hospital, Belfast, BT9 7AB, UK
2Histopathology Department, Belfast City Hospital, Belfast, BT9 7AB, UK

Copyright © 2003 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Direct measurement of monoclonal plasma cell mass in bone marrow biopsies may be a useful parameter to establish in plasma cell dyscrasia. In this study monoclonal plasma cells/mm2 in light chain immunoglobulin immunostained archival bone marrow sections from 22 patients in whom a diagnosis of multiple myeloma (MM) had been excluded but who had monoclonal proteins were counted by two observers at light microscopic level. There was good correlation between the counts of the two observers. The levels of monoclonal plasma cells/mm2 in biopsies were not related to the % counts in the aspirates taken at the same time as the biopsies. Three of seven patients with biopsy levels in excess of the polyclonal levels in patients without plasma cell dyscrasia developed progressive MM within the observation time. Monoclonal plasma cell levels/mm2 of bone marrow biopsies can be measured and they provide a useful parameter for the assessment of patients with low volume plasma cell dyscrasia. Colour figure can be viewed on‐4/markey.htm.