Idiopathic Bence Jones Proteinuria (Smoldering Monoclonal Light-Chain Proteinuria), first reported in 1982, is an asymptomatic plasma cell proliferative disorder associated with an elevated risk of progression to symptomatic MM or amyloidosis (AL). We defined it as the presence of a monoclonal light chain in the urine ≥200 mg/24h, absence of an intact immunoglobulin M protein (IGH expression) in the serum and no evidence of MM, AL or other related plasma cell proliferative disorders. Following approval by our Institutional Review Board, we searched a computerized database and reviewed the records of all patients seen at Mayo Clinic within 30 days of the recognition of a monoclonal light chain (Bence Jones protein) in the urine from January 1, 1960 through June 30, 2004. Patients with end-organ damage at diagnosis resulting from the plasma cell proliferative disorder (including MM or AL), or who had received chemotherapy or had a nephrotic syndrome were excluded. Follow-up included review of each patient's medical record at Mayo Clinic, as well as review of death certificates for patients who died. Patients were sent letters of inquiry if they had not visited Mayo Clinic in the preceding year. The risks of progression to MM and AL were compared to those expected on the basis of Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) rates for MM in Iowa and the incidence of AL in Olmsted County, Minnesota. One-hundred and one patients fulfilled the criteria for diagnosis during the 44-year period (1960–2004). The median age at diagnosis was 67 years (range 18–90 years), and only 2% were < 40 years old. Seventy-three percent were male. The urine M protein ranged from 200 mg/24h to 4.7 g/24h (median value, 500 mg/24h); 29% had > 1 g/24h. Kappa light chain accounted for 50% while the remaining 50% were lambda. Fifty-seven (56%) had a monoclonal light chain in the serum on immunofixation. Concentrations of uninvolved (normal, polyclonal or background) immunoglobulins were reduced in 62%. Eighty-eight percent of patients died during follow-up. During 900 person years of follow-up, 29 patients developed symptomatic MM (relative risk, 140.3; 95% CI, 93.9–201.5) and an additional 9 patients developed AL (relative risk, 104.4; 95% CI, 47.8–198.4). Four patients had both multiple myeloma and AL amyloidosis. The cumulative probability of progression to active MM or AL was 19% at 5 years, 31% at 10 years and 42% at 15 years. The factors associated with progression to MM or AL included size of urine M protein, percentage of bone marrow plasma cells, serum free light chain ratio < 1/100 or > 100, serum creatinine and reduction of all 3 uninvolved immunoglobulins. We conclude that patients with Idiopathic Bence Jones Proteinuria (Smoldering Monoclonal Light-Chain Proteinuria) are at risk for the development of MM or AL and must be followed indefinitely.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.