Bence Jones protein

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Described by Henry Bence Jones (1813-1873) in 1847/48, but subsequently characterised by William MacIntyre.
Bence Jones protein is now known to represent monoclonal light chains in the urine, often a result of multiple myeloma. The usual differential diagnosis is monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance. Dr Jones did not hyphenate his name (Bence was his middle name and also his maternal grandfather's firstname).

In the original description (see account in [1]), the index patient initially developed oedema with subsequent chest and bone pain. When the patient's urine was heated, as was the practice then for cases of oedema, a precipitate formed but re-dissolved on further heating, only to reappear on cooling. A sample was sent to Dr Jones, who was a well regarded clinical chemist, for analysis. He suggested that it was an oxide of albumin and was present at levels similar to that of albumin in the serum.[2]


  1. Rosenfeld L. Henry Bence Jones (1813-1873): the best "chemical doctor" in London. Clinical chemistry. 1987 Sep; 33(9):1687-92.
  2. Jones HB. On a new substance occurring in the urine of a patient with mollities ossium. Philos Trans R Soc London 1848; 138:55-62.