Until comparatively recent times myeloma was a rarely noted disease, and the diagnosis rested on classic clinical findings and biopsy. As sternal aspiration techniques were extended to myeloma, florid examples provided ideal demonstration material, and experience with the disease grew. It then became apparent that myeloma could exist also in a rather chronic state and that it was not always possible to establish its presence by marrow aspiration or biopsy.
Although free electrophoresis revealed interesting characteristics of the serum protein, the method was too tedious and expensive to be a practical diagnostic procedure. Then came the development of zone or paper electrophoresis, adding another dimension to the diagnosis of plasmacytic disease, which is sufficient for most clinical purposes.
Approximately 70% of serum electrophoretic patterns in patients with multiple myeloma have a diagnostic homogeneous globulin component. The abnormal component is distinguished by its electrophoretic homogeneity, its amount and irregular mobility, migrating