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Alternative Names Return to topImmunoglobulin light chains - urine; Urine Bence-Jones protein
Definition Return to top
A quantitative Bence-Jones protein test measures the specific level of abnormal proteins (Bence-Jones proteins) in your urine.
How the Test is Performed Return to top
A clean-catch (midstream) urine sample is needed.
Men or boys should first wipe clean the head of the penis. Women or girls need to wash the area between the lips of the vagina with soapy water and rinse well.
As you start to urinate, allow a small amount to fall into the toilet bowl (this clears the urethra of contaminants). Then, in a clean container, catch about 1 to 2 ounces of urine and remove the container from the urine stream. Give the container to the health care provider or assistant.
In infants, thoroughly wash the area around the urethra. Open a urine collection bag (a plastic bag with an adhesive paper on one end), and place it on your infant. For boys, the entire penis can be placed in the bag and the adhesive attached to the skin. For girls, the bag is placed over the labia. Place a diaper over the infant (bag and all).
Check your baby frequently and remove the bag after the infant has urinated into it. For active infants, this procedure may take a couple of attempts -- lively infants can displace the bag. The urine is drained into a container for transport back to the health care provider.
How the Test Will Feel Return to top
The test involves only normal urination, and there is no discomfort.
Why the Test is Performed Return to top
Bence-Jones proteins are relatively small and are filtered out by the kidneys. This test is done to help diagnose medical conditions that lead to protein in the urine (proteinuria).
Your doctor may also order this test when your urine protein level is high or if you have other signs of multiple myeloma.
Normal Results Return to top
A normal result means no Bence-Jones proteins are found in your urine.
What Abnormal Results Mean Return to top
Bence-Jones proteins are rarely found in urine. If they are, it is usually associated with multiple myeloma.
An abnormal result may also be due to Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or amyloidosis.
Considerations Return to top
Urine immunofixation is the best test for detecting Bence-Jones proteins.
References Return to top
McPherson RA and Pincus MR. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 21st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2007:399-400.
Goldman L, Ausiello D. Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2004:658.Update Date: 6/14/2008 Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and James R. Mason, MD, Oncologist, Director, Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program and Stem Cell Processing Lab, Scripps Clinic, Torrey Pines, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.