Beta 2 microglobulin is a molecule that exists on nearly all cells that have a nucleus and to that extent is not a cause of worry; however, when the serum levels of this molecule is too high then it is one of the worst news that a person could hear. This is because the beta 2 microglobulin test showing beta 2 microglobulin level in an elevated state is a sign of one the most deadly cancers called multiple myeloma. Beta 2 microglobulin in multiple myeloma is used to actually stage the disease, an exercise that will only result in a patient knowing how long he or she has to live. The other possible diagnosis that this test could reveal is that a person is suffering from a lymphoma - also a rather fatal cancer. The final possibility can be that the patient might be suffering from a amyloidosis - a disease that causes excess protein deposits to form.
The test is done to either confirm the possibility of multiple myeloma or lymphoma. The test can also be used to check for other possibilities like those mentioned above. Multiple myeloma is a disease of the lymphocytes of the body that produce antibodies. These antibodies then trigger cytokine storms or aggressive immune attacks within the bone marrow. This causes the malignant cells of the tumor to start growing. The cytokine storm is not limited to the marrow and can also affect other tissues like the kidneys. Amyloid proteins forming are also a possibility.
The test is a serum test with an assay is the most likely method that is used to discover the presence of the offending molecule. The presence of the molecule in elevated levels means that a more invasive test may be required like a biopsy of the bone marrow or the lymphoma. The test is also used to stage the onset of multiple myeloma.
There is no specific preparation that you need to do for the test but more important is that if you do have elevated levels of the molecule in serum, you would need to be mentally prepared for the consequences of what that means. Stage 1 would show levels of less than 3.5, stage 2 is 3.5 or more, stage 3 is more than 5.5. At stage 1, the patient would have 62 more months to live, stage 2 - 45, and stage 3 - 29.