We evaluated a new sodium dodecyl sulfate-agarose gel electrophoresis (SDS-AGE) for urinary protein analysis in patients with multiple myeloma (MM; n = 47; ages, 62 +/- 2 years, mean +/- SE). Abnormal proteinuria (mean = 1872 +/- 360 mg/24 h) was present in 95% of the samples; 75% of the patients had some sign of renal dysfunction (glomerular and/or tubular) according to their SDS-AGE pattern. A band suggesting Bence Jones proteinuria (BJP) was detected in 40 vs 33 specimens by routine AGE. Immunofixation identified BJP in 38 patients; the calculated sensitivity of SDS-AGE for BJP was 97%. Excellent correlation (P <0.0001) was obtained with routine AGE (r = 0.994) and immunonephelometry (r = 0.963) for light chain quantification. SDS-AGE allows easy evaluation of renal dysfunction and shows high sensitivity for BJP detection. In a specialized laboratory, it is useful for following the progress of MM patients through the semiquantification of BJP.