Beta-2 microglobulin is a protein that is found on the surface of the majority of cells in the human body and is shed by the cells into the blood.
Beta2-microglobulin is abundant on the surface of white blood cells. Increased production or destruction of these cells causes Beta2-microglobulin levels in the blood to increase. This increase is seen in people with cancers involving white blood cells, but it is particularly meaningful in people newly diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Multiple myeloma is a cancer of a certain kind of white blood cell, called a plasma cell. At the time of diagnosis, the Beta2-microglobulin levels reflect how advanced the disease is and the likely prognosis for that person.
Because Beta-2 Microglobulin is increased with blood cell cancers, it may be useful as a tumor marker. Though it can be used to assess kidney function as well.
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