Diagnosis of Amyloidosis Cancer

Executive Summary:

Amyloidosis cancer is a rare and serious illness. Amyloidosis occurs when normal proteins in the body become misshapen and clump together. The misshapen proteins are amyloid deposits or fibrils. Over time, the amyloid cancer deposits build up in organs and tissues in the body. Eventually, this buildup cause symptoms and organ failure because the organs and tissues are not able to work as well as they should. Systemic amyloidosis is the most common, moreover

There’s no known cause, but happens when the bone marrow makes abnormal antibodies. It links to blood cancer. It can affect your kidneys, heart, liver, intestines, and nerves.

An early diagnosis of amyloidosis cancer can prevent the disease condition from worsening. An accurate and precise diagnosis is vital. The patient’s overall health condition, signs and symptoms, age and past medical history are the factors based on which the diagnostic approach of amyloidosis is dependent. Physical exams are done, in addition to laboratory tests which include blood and urine tests to analyze the presence of abnormal protein among the patients. Biopsy gives definite diagnosis of Amyloidosis Cancer, while specialized, precise testing and scrutiny reveals the type of amyloidosis. Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy examines the bone marrow for abnormalities. Additionally, ultrasound, molecular testing, heart evaluation, are also done. This helps to measure the condition of the disease.

A diagnostic approach for amyloidosis:

Doctors use different diagnostic methods to detect amyloidosis. Proper diagnosis of Amyloidosis cancer helps doctors plan the best suitable treatment strategy ​1​. A biopsy diagnoses amyloidosis definitively, hence doctors use the method widely. They may also use various imaging tests and scans for diagnosis. 

Given below is a list of diagnosing options for detecting amyloidosis. While a person is not subjected to all of these tests ​2​ , the doctor prescribe the tests and scans per a patient’s condition ​3,4​. For choosing the apt diagnostic test, the doctor or healthcare team may consider the following factors:

  • Patient’s overall health condition.
  • Signs and symptoms.
  • Age.
  • Past medical history.

Methods of Amyloidosis Cancer Diagnosis

Physical examination:

While as an initial step of diagnosis of Amyloidosis Cancer, the doctor will conduct a physical examination of the suspected area, the doctor will also direct you to undergo other tests and scans to get more ideas and clarity regarding the disorder.

Laboratory tests:

Patients carry out blood and urine tests to analyze the presence of abnormal protein in them that can indicate amyloidosis condition. In addition to the signs and symptoms that the patient experiences, they also undergo liver function and thyroid tests. 


A biopsy primarily means removing a tiny tissue sample for close examination under a microscope, through which a pathologist analyses the model to detect any disorder. The biopsy is a common diagnostic technique to detect amyloidosis. Other tests and diagnostic tools merely report the presence of amyloid proteins, but a biopsy gives definite diagnosis of Amyloidosis Cancer, and reveals the type of amyloidosis. The tissue sample is goes through specialized, precise testing and scrutiny. 

While in a biopsy to detect amyloidosis, the tissue sample is extracted from the bone marrow, tissues from abdominal fat or a suspected organ like the heart, liver, kidneys, rectum or nerves may also be extracted.

Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy:

These procedures are similar and often done to examine the bone marrow for abnormalities. Bone marrow has both a liquid and a solid part. Fluid sample is extracted from the bone marrow through bone marrow aspiration, and in addition to it a small amount of the solid part is removed in bone marrow biopsy. A pathologist analyses these samples and looks for deposits or abnormalities. The pelvic bone, located in the lower back by the hip, and is usually the common site for a bone marrow biopsy and aspiration. While sample extraction is complicated, procedures are done with anesthesia to numb the area and block awareness.


Sound waves create images of the body’s interior in an ultrasound. Ultrasound diagnoses the amyloidosis. Areas with amyloid deposits make different sound wave echoes compared to the normal healthy tissues. A computer changes these sound waves into images, which helps doctors detect affected areas in the body. Ultrasound of the abdomen checks enlarged organs. 

Molecular testing:

The doctor may recommend various tests conducted at the molecular level and such lab tests will identify specific proteins, genes and other factors. These diagnoses of Amyloidosis Cancer results can help doctors to design the treatment plan.

Heart evaluation:

Echocardiogram or “echo” (explained below) in short and electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). The above mentioned tests are done. Such tests will help evaluate any structural abnormalities in the heart. They also examine the motion of the heart walls.

Imaging tests:

Imaging tests are vital in accurately diagnosing diseases. In addition to heart evaluation, getting images of organ structures affected by amyloid proteins can help measure the gravity of the disease condition. The different imaging tests include:

  1. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)- magnetic resonance imaging uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed body images of various tissues and organs. These images evaluate the structure and functioning of your heart, in addition to other types of tests.
  2. Nuclear imaging- in nuclear imaging small amounts of radioactive material called tracers is intravenously injected into the patient’s body, and this furthermore reveals any damage caused to the heart by amyloid deposits of any type. The imaging test can also help distinguish between different kinds of amyloidosis, thereby giving sufficient information to the healthcare to decide the treatment strategy.
  3.  Echocardiogram- This imaging test uses sound waves to generate moving heart images. The method evaluates the functioning of the heart, simultaneously showing any damage to the heart caused by any amyloidosis type.

After conducting the required diagnostic procedures, the doctor will review the test and scan results with the patients, while the healthcare team will decide the apt treatment strategy based on the diagnosis.


  1. 1.
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    Juneja R, Pati HP. Approach to the Diagnosis of Amyloidosis. Indian J Hematol Blood Transfus. Published online October 9, 2019:246-253. doi:10.1007/s12288-019-01208-4
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    Hasib Sidiqi M, Gertz MA. Immunoglobulin light chain amyloidosis diagnosis and treatment algorithm 2021. Blood Cancer J. Published online May 2021. doi:10.1038/s41408-021-00483-7
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    Baker KR, Rice L. The Amyloidoses: Clinical Features, Diagnosis and Treatment. Methodist DeBakey Cardiovascular Journal. Published online July 1, 2012:3. doi:10.14797/mdcj-8-3-3