A reader wanted to know:  “What is an M-spike?”

I have referred to my M-spike numbers a lot recently. The formal name for this type of blood test is serum protein electrophoresis.  This test separates your blood proteins, allowing a specially trained pathologist to detect the presence of monoclonal proteins in your blood.

Called an M-spike, it helps identify the amount of monoclonal protein in a multiple myeloma patient’s blood–the clearest indicator that there is a problem with too many plasma cells in their bone marrow.

But it is important to note that this isn’t the only way to identify and track multiple myeloma. Parts of M-proteins may also be detected in a test of your urine. When M-proteins are found in urine, they’re referred to as Bence Jones proteins.

Undetectable in the blood, a 24 hour urine sample is used to monitor patients with this type of myeloma.

No M-proteins in your blood or urine?  You may not be out of the woods, yet!  As many as 8% of people with multiple myeloma are non-secretors.  Their blood and urine may show no or little evidence of monoclonal protein, yet they still have multiple myeloma. The only way to follow the progress of their cancer is through frequent bone marrow biopsies and diagnostics like PET scans.

Here is a LINK to a pathology student’s take on how the process works.

Want to learn more?  CLICKING-HERE is a good place to start.  The link will take to to an article I found from a few years back on a site called Everyday Health.com, which takes a closer look at different ways to identify and track multiple myeloma.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat