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The beta-2 microglobulin (B2M or beta-2-M) test measures the amount of beta-2 microglobulin in the blood. Beta-2 microglobulin is a membrane protein found in all nucleated cells of the body. Elevated beta-2 microglobulin level in the blood is a sign of increased cell turnover and the test is often done as a part of cancer panel to diagnose malignancies.
The beta-2 microglobulin test is a simple blood test collected via venipuncture. The levels are reported as micrograms per milliliter (mcg/mL). Typically, beta-2 microglobulin levels in the blood range between 1.21 and 2.70 mcg/mL.
Elevated beta-2 microglobulin levels can result from:
- Malignancies, such as multiple myeloma and lymphoma
- Chronic inflammation
- Liver disease
- Renal dysfunction
- Viral infections
Am I required to fast for this test?
No, you do not need to fast for this test. However, if you are concurrently having another test done that requires fasting, you need to fast for that test as indicated.
What are normal levels?
Normal beta-2 microglobulin levels range from 1.21 to 2.70 mcg/mL. The normal values can vary depending on the laboratory. The exact range will be indicated on your report.
What are abnormal levels?
Elevated beta-2 microglobulin levels indicate conditions associated with increased cell turnover. The test can also be done for prognostic reasons. In multiple myeloma, beta-2 microglobulin levels below 4 mcg/dL are considered a good prognostic factor whereas levels above 4 mcg/dL are associated with decreased survival.
Why do I need it?
If you want to assess your risk of multiple myeloma or other malignancy, you may consider taking this test.
What type of doctor should I see if results are abnormal?
See your primary health care provider who may refer you to a specialist.