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The characteristics of beta2 microglobulin (B2M) make it useful as a tumor marker for some blood cell cancers, for detecting kidney damage, and for distinguishing between glomerular and tubular disorders of the kidney. B2M is not diagnostic for a specific disease, but it gives the doctor additional information about someone's likely prognosis and about the health of their kidneys.

As a tumor marker: a blood B2M test may be ordered to help determine the severity and spread (stage) of multiple myeloma and may sometimes be ordered to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment. B2M has been associated with tumor burden, the amount of cancer present, and may be ordered to help evaluate the prognosis of cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma.

In kidney disease: both blood and urine B2M tests may be ordered along with other kidney function tests such as BUN, creatinine, and microalbumin to evaluate kidney damage and disease and to distinguish between disorders that affect the glomeruli and the renal tubules. B2M tests may sometimes be ordered to monitor people who have had a kidney transplant, to detect early signs of rejection, and ordered to monitor people who are exposed to high levels of cadmium and mercury, such as with occupational exposure.

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