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What is CD138?1

CD138 is a protein which controls tumor cell survival, growth, adhesion and bone cell differentiation. It is present on the surface of plasma cells.

What is CD138 test? 24

CD138 test is a test performed to diagnose cancer, primarily multiple myeloma (tumor of plasma cells), lymphoma, lymphoblastic leukemia, carcinoma, and sarcoma. Plasma cells fight infections by forming antibodies that attack germs.

Why is CD138 test suggested? 5

Symptoms for multiple myeloma or lymphoma include:

  • Nausea.
  • Constipation.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Bone pain, especially in the spine or chest.
  • Mental fogginess.
  • Fatigue and weakness of legs.
  • Weight loss.
  • Excessive thirst.

You must go and see a doctor if these symptoms persist.

How is CD138 test performed? 4

Before the tests, the doctor performs a physical examination and also asks questions about your appetite, medical history, current medical problems and treatments, weakness, pain, weight loss, etc.

  • Biopsy/Bone marrow aspiration by removing a small number of tissues from the tumor site. Anesthesia is given before the needle is inserted and depending on the part of the body, you may have to lie on your stomach or your back or sit up.
  • Blood test in which the doctor analyses your blood sample to look for M proteins produced by myeloma cells.

Imaging tests like MRI and CT scan are also done to detect bone problems associated with multiple myeloma. Urine tests might also be done.

What are the parameters measured in the CD138 test? 2

If the test result is positive for the presence of CD138 proteins, it indicates the presence of multiple myeloma or lymphoma. A negative result generally indicates carcinoma.

If the doctor suspects that the tumor is cancerous, but the CD138 test result is weak or negative, then additional tests may be done to identify the tumor.

Preparation before performing CD138 test5

Preparation for a biopsy depends on the type of test you are going to have. The doctor will ask you certain questions before the tests. Inform your doctor if you are on any medication and have a medical condition. The doctor will give you instructions depending on your condition. Ask your doctor if you can eat or drink before the test.   

Post-care after CD138 test3

Wear the bandage placed by the doctor at the needle site for 24 hours in case of biopsy. In the case of a blood test, place the bandage for 30 mins-1 hour. Avoid any strenuous activity throughout the day.

Sample types in CD138 test 3

Samples collected are tissues or cells.


Side effects/risks of CD138 test 3

Biopsy and blood tests are very safe procedures. Complications are infrequent which include bleeding, pain, fever or discomfort. Tell your doctor if you are facing these problems.

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