Serum immunoelectrophoresis is a lab test that measures proteins called immunoglobulins in the blood. Immunoglobulins are proteins that function as antibodies, which fight infection. There are many types of immunoglobulins that fight different types of infections. Some immunoglobulins can be abnormal and may be due to cancer.
Immunoglobulins can also be measured in the urine.
A blood sample is needed.
There is no special preparation for this test.
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain. Others feel only a prick or stinging. Afterward, there may be some throbbing or slight bruising. This soon goes away.
This test is most often used to check the levels of antibodies when certain cancers and other disorders are present or suspected.
A normal (negative) result means that the blood sample had normal types of immunoglobulins. The level of one immunoglobulin was not higher than any other.
Abnormal results may be due to:
Some people have monoclonal immunoglobulins, but do not have cancer. This is called monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance, or MGUS.
There is little risk involved with having your blood taken. Veins and arteries vary in size from one person to another and from one side of the body to the other. Taking blood from some people may be more difficult than from others.
Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight, but may include:
Reviewed By: Richard LoCicero, MD, private practice specializing in hematology and medical oncology, Longstreet Cancer Center, Gainesville, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.