Tubulointerstitial involvement seems to have a decisive influence on the progression of glomerular diseases. We have prospectively evaluated the levels of urinary retinol-binding protein (urRBP), a marker of proximal tubular dysfunction, in patients with different glomerulopathies (GPs) and correlated these levels with disease progression. By studying 238 patients with GPs, we found that urRBP tend to be lower in minimal change disease, glomerular hematuria and poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis as compared to focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, membranous nephropathy and membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis. By following 149 patients for up to 10 years, we have concluded that high levels of urRBP can identify patients who will progress with loss of renal function (defined as doubling of serum creatinine level) and that a urRBP level >1 mg/l was an efficient and independent indicator of poor prognosis as shown by multivariate analysis. This prediction was possible at a time when serum creatinine and creatinine clearance were still in the normal range. Our data suggest that this laboratory test adds important clinical information to the follow-up of GPs.