Protein, Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Immunofixation (IFE), Serum

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The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.

Also known as: Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Immunofixation IFE Serum

Abnormal Protein Band 1

Abnormal Protein Band 2

Abnormal Protein Band 3


Albumin is a protein made by the liver. A serum albumin test measures the amount of this protein in the clear liquid portion of the blood.





Gamma Globulins



Protein, Total

The total protein is the total amount of two classes of proteins, albumin and globulin that are found in the fluid portion of your blood. Proteins are important parts of all cells and tissues. Your albumin helps prevent fluid from leaking out of blood vessels and your globulins are an important part of your immune system.
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The Protein, Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Immunofixation (IFE), Serum test contains 1 test with 12 biomarkers.

Brief Description: The Serum Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Immunofixation test is a combined laboratory assay that examines the total protein levels in serum and differentiates specific protein fractions using electrophoresis. Additionally, immunofixation is employed to further characterize and identify monoclonal proteins or "M proteins."

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When and Why the Test May Be Ordered

The test may be ordered when a healthcare provider suspects conditions related to abnormal protein production or loss. Such suspicions might arise from:

  1. Unexplained Symptoms: Fatigue, bone pain, unexplained weight loss, or kidney problems might prompt this test.
  2. Abnormal Findings: If routine blood tests show high total protein levels or abnormal calcium or kidney function.
  3. Monitoring: To monitor known conditions like multiple myeloma or other monoclonal gammopathies.

What the Test Checks For

The Serum Protein Total assay measures the combined concentration of albumin and globulins in the serum. Protein Electrophoresis separates serum proteins based on their charge and size, producing distinct bands representing albumin and various globulin fractions (alpha1, alpha2, beta, and gamma globulins). Immunofixation identifies specific proteins, especially when the presence of abnormal monoclonal proteins is suspected.

Other Lab Tests Ordered Alongside

When these tests are ordered, they are often part of a broader evaluation of hematologic and immune function. Here are some tests commonly ordered alongside them:

  1. Complete Blood Count (CBC) with Differential:

    • Purpose: To evaluate overall blood health, including red and white blood cells, and platelets.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To identify any underlying anemia, infection, or other hematologic abnormalities that can accompany conditions like multiple myeloma or immune disorders.
  2. Quantitative Immunoglobulins (IgG, IgA, IgM):

    • Purpose: To measure the levels of different types of immunoglobulins.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To quantify individual immunoglobulin levels, which can be elevated or suppressed in various disorders, including gammopathies and immune deficiencies.
  3. Beta-2 Microglobulin:

    • Purpose: To measure the level of beta-2 microglobulin, a protein that can be elevated in multiple myeloma and some lymphomas.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To help diagnose and determine the prognosis of certain blood cell cancers.
  4. Calcium Level:

    • Purpose: To measure the concentration of calcium in the blood.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Elevated calcium levels can occur in multiple myeloma and other conditions affecting bone metabolism.
  5. Kidney Function Test:

    • Purpose: To assess kidney function.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Kidney impairment can be a complication of conditions like multiple myeloma, where abnormal proteins can accumulate in the kidneys.
  6. Liver Function Test:

    • Purpose: To assess liver health.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To evaluate liver function and rule out liver diseases, as liver abnormalities can influence protein metabolism.
  7. Urine Protein Electrophoresis and Immunofixation:

    • Purpose: To identify and measure proteins in the urine, particularly to detect Bence Jones proteins, which are light chains commonly found in multiple myeloma.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To detect the excretion of abnormal proteins associated with plasma cell disorders.

These tests, when ordered alongside a Serum Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Immunofixation, provide a comprehensive evaluation of the protein profile and overall health of the blood and immune system. They are crucial for diagnosing conditions like multiple myeloma, assessing organ function, and guiding further diagnostic testing and treatment strategies. The specific combination of tests will depend on the individual’s symptoms, clinical findings, and the suspected underlying condition.

Conditions or Diseases that Require the Test

This test is particularly relevant for:

  • Monoclonal Gammopathies: Conditions like multiple myeloma, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), and Waldenström macroglobulinemia.
  • Chronic Inflammatory Conditions: Such as rheumatoid arthritis or chronic infection, which can alter protein fractions.
  • Liver Diseases: As liver produces many proteins, its diseases can cause abnormal protein levels.
  • Kidney Disorders: Protein loss through the kidneys can lead to decreased serum protein.

Usage of Results by Health Care Providers

Results guide providers in:

  • Diagnosis: Identification of monoclonal proteins can lead to a diagnosis of a specific monoclonal gammopathy.
  • Treatment Decisions: Depending on protein levels and types, specific therapies may be initiated or altered.
  • Prognosis: Certain patterns in protein electrophoresis, combined with other lab findings, can indicate the severity of a condition or its likely progression.

In sum, the Serum Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Immunofixation test is a comprehensive tool for diagnosing, monitoring, and making informed treatment decisions for various conditions, especially those related to abnormal protein production.

Most Common Questions About the Protein, Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Immunofixati test:

Purpose and Clinical Indications

Why is the Serum Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Immunofixation test ordered?

The Serum Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Immunofixation test is often ordered to evaluate the amount and types of proteins in the blood and to detect the presence of abnormal proteins. It is frequently used to diagnose and monitor conditions such as multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, as well as other disorders related to protein abnormalities in the blood.

What is the difference between Serum Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Immunofixation?

Serum Protein Total measures the total amount of proteins in the blood, including albumin and globulins. In contrast, Protein Electrophoresis with Immunofixation separates these proteins based on their size and electrical charge, allowing for the identification of specific protein bands and any abnormal proteins that might be present. Immunofixation further identifies the type of abnormal protein, which can help in diagnosing specific conditions.

Interpretation of Results

What do elevated levels of protein in the Serum Protein Total test indicate?

Elevated levels in the Serum Protein Total test can be indicative of various conditions, including chronic inflammation, infections, multiple myeloma, or other blood disorders. It's essential to interpret this result in the context of other tests and clinical findings.

What are the implications of detecting a monoclonal protein through Protein Electrophoresis with Immunofixation?

The presence of a monoclonal protein, often referred to as M protein, typically indicates that a single type of plasma cell is producing an abnormal amount of that specific protein. This finding is commonly associated with conditions like multiple myeloma, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), and certain types of lymphoma.

Implications and Medical Management

If abnormal proteins are detected, what further tests might be recommended?

If abnormal proteins are identified, especially a monoclonal protein, further tests might be recommended to understand the cause and the potential impact on the individual's health. These might include bone marrow biopsy, imaging studies, or additional blood tests to assess kidney function, calcium levels, and other relevant parameters.

How is the Serum Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Immunofixation test used in monitoring multiple myeloma patients?

For patients diagnosed with multiple myeloma, the Serum Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Immunofixation test is crucial in monitoring disease progression or response to treatment. Changes in the levels of the monoclonal protein or other abnormal proteins can indicate how well the treatment is working or if the disease is advancing.

Post-Test Management

After receiving results from the Serum Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Immunofixation test, how often might one need to undergo retesting?

The frequency of retesting largely depends on the initial findings and the clinical context. For instance, if someone is diagnosed with MGUS, they might be retested annually or as clinically indicated to monitor for potential progression to multiple myeloma. On the other hand, multiple myeloma patients might undergo testing more frequently, depending on their treatment regimen and disease status.

How does the Serum Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Immunofixation test fit into the larger diagnostic and therapeutic strategy for conditions like multiple myeloma?

The Serum Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Immunofixation test is integral to both the diagnostic process and ongoing management of conditions like multiple myeloma. It provides critical insights into the presence and amount of abnormal proteins, guiding both diagnosis and treatment decisions. Throughout the treatment journey, it serves as a vital tool for healthcare providers to assess treatment efficacy and make informed therapeutic adjustments.

Utilizing the Serum Protein Total and Protein Electrophoresis with Immunofixation test in conjunction with clinical evaluations and other diagnostic tools ensures comprehensive patient care and optimized outcomes.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

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