Procedure and Preparation For Conducting a Bence Jones Protein Urine Test

By Ashley | December 3, 2009

The Bence-Jones protein urine test is a test for the protein by the same name. The Bence-Jones protein is a protein that is a globulin that is excreted in the urine. The significance of finding the Bence-Jones protein in urine is that it is an indication of some neoplasm in the body. This is usually in the case of cancers like bone marrow cancer. The presence of the protein can also be an indication of the presence of anemia, bone disease, and renal failure. The test is also used to screen for a rare condition called Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia a kind of lymphoma involving the white blood cells.


The Bence-Jones protein test is a test that is used to diagnose kidney failure, bone disease, and bone marrow cancer. This is one of the preliminary tests that are conducted before more invasive techniques are performed like biopsies. This may also be followed by other tests for tumor markers. Anemia testing may be done be a hematocrit. Cancers of the bone marrow can be particularly hard to identify in the initial stages because it is within the bone and does not present itself as any kind of specific swelling or symptoms. The only way that it can be diagnosed is with the help of tumor markers and more invasive tests later on.


The test is done by taking a urine sample from the patient. This should ideally be done in the morning when the concentration of urine is at its optimal amount. The urine test for Bence-Jones protein is then conducted using a method called electrophoresis. This is basically a method of concentrating urine. The substitute for this is to simply heat the urine. After heating the urine, the Bence-Jones protein will then precipitate and crystallize at a certain temperature before dissolving back into the urine at the boiling point.


There is no specific preparation though you might have to spend the day in the hospital continuously giving urine samples. Ideally, there should be none of this protein in the urine and its presence would indicate the possibility of any of the diseases mentioned above. Some other types of bone disease that can cause the protein to show up in tests include rheumatoid arthritis. There is sometimes a specific warning given that the high intake of acetylsalicylic acid in painkillers can affect the readings.