Bence Jones Protein Test

Bence Jones Protein Test- Why am I having this test?

Bence Jones protein test is used to help diagnose and monitor the treatment of multiple myeloma and other similar diseases. It checks for the presence of Bence-Jones proteins (antibodies), also called M proteins, which are not present in healthy people.

If present, these proteins can be a sign of cancer of the plasma cells or other diseases that cause excessive plasma cells in the body.

What is being tested?

This test checks the urine for the presence of antibody proteins that are made by plasma cells. Plasma cells are a form of white blood cells in the body.

Bence-Jones light chain antibodies measured in the urine include:

  • Kappa total light chain.
  • Lambda total light chain.

What kind of sample is taken?

A urine sample is required for this test.

How do I collect samples at home?

You may be asked to collect either a one-time sample of urine or all of the urine you pass over a 24-hour period. When collecting a urine sample at home, make sure you:

  • Use supplies and instructions that you received from the lab. 
  • Collect urine only in the germ-free (sterile) cup that you received from the lab. 
  • Do notlet any toilet paper or stool (feces) get into the cup.
  • Refrigerate the sample until you can return it to the lab. 
  • Return the sample(s) to the lab as instructed.

Tell a health care provider about:

  • All medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbs, eye drops, creams, and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Any blood disorders you have.
  • Any surgeries you have had.
  • Any medical conditions you have.
  • Whether you are pregnant or may be pregnant.

How are the results reported?

Your test results will be reported as ranges, which are given as milligrams of protein per deciliter (mg/dL). Your results will also be reported as a ratio of how the proteins compare to each other.

Your health care provider will compare your results to normal ranges that were established after testing a large group of people (reference ranges). Reference ranges may vary among labs and hospitals. For this test, common reference ranges are:

  • Kappa total light chain: less than 0.68 mg/dL.
  • Lambda total light chain: less than 0.40 mg/dL.
  • Kappa to lambda ratio: 0.7–6.2.

What do the results mean?

Results within reference ranges are normal, meaning that you do not have multiple myeloma or other similar diseases.

Results that are greater than the reference ranges may mean that you have:

  • Multiple myeloma.
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
  • Lymphoma.
  • Other blood disorders such as amyloidosis or Waldenström macroglobulinemia.
  • Different types of metastatic cancer.

Talk with your health care provider about what your results mean.

Questions to ask your health care provider

Ask your health care provider, or the department that is doing the test:

  • When will my results be ready?
  • How will I get my results?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • What other tests do I need?
  • What are my next steps?

Summary

  • The Bence-Jones protein test is used to help diagnose and monitor the treatment of multiple myeloma and other similar diseases.
  • This test involves collecting either a one-time sample of urine or all of the urine you pass over a 24-hour period. This test checks the amounts of certain Bence-Jones proteins in your urine.
  • Results that are greater than the reference ranges may mean that you have multiple myeloma or other similar diseases.
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