Immunofixation by Electrophoresis (Urine)
Does this test have other names?
Immunofixation electrophoresis, IFE
What is this test?
This test separates and measures proteins in your urine. It looks for an abnormal
protein called monoclonal protein, also called M-protein.
An M-protein is a type of abnormal immunoglobulin made by plasma cells. Plasma cells
are a kind of white blood cell. Your body uses immunoglobulins to make antibodies
that help attack invaders such as bacteria and viruses. If your body makes M-protein,
it may mean that you have one of several types of cancer, such as multiple myeloma,
or another serious health problem.
This test uses an electric current to push proteins in a urine sample through a special
gel. This is electrophoresis. The lab treats the gel to keep only certain proteins.
This is immunofixation. A stain makes different proteins show up as bands, or peaks.
Why do I need this test?
You may need this test if your healthcare provider thinks you have a health condition
Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that causes abnormal plasma cells to build up
in bone marrow. As a result, many bones grow tumors. When this happens, the bone marrow
can't do its normal job of making different blood cells. Symptoms of multiple myeloma
Primary amyloidosis causes a substance called amyloid to gather in clumps in your
organs. Amyloid is made of fragments of antibody protein. When amyloid gathers in
organs, such as the kidneys, lungs, heart, or brain, it can damage them. Some people
may have both multiple myeloma and primary amyloidosis.
Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia is a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which is a kind
of cancer. It's caused by high levels of monoclonal immunoglobulin M (IgM). Symptoms
What other tests might I have along with this test?
You may need other tests to help show if you have a health problem. These tests may
Analysis of a sample of bone marrow
Biopsy of tissue from your body to check for signs of amyloidosis
X-rays to check your bones
Urine test to check for unusual levels of protein
Complete blood count (CBC) that includes measuring the number of different cells in
Measurement of levels of immunoglobulins in your blood
CT scans to look at your lymph nodes, spleen, and liver
What do my test results mean?
Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, the method used
for the test, and other things. Your test results may not mean you have a problem.
Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you.
How is this test done?
This test needs a 24-hour urine sample. For this sample, you must collect all of your
urine for 24 hours. Empty your bladder completely first in the morning without collecting
it. Note the time. Then collect your urine every time you go to the bathroom over
the next 24 hours.
Does this test pose any risks?
This test poses no known risks.
What might affect my test results?
No other factors can affect your results.
How do I get ready for this test?
You don't need to prepare for this test. But be sure your healthcare provider knows
about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes
medicines that don't need a prescription and any illegal drugs you may use.