Bone marrow aspirates from 306 patients with multiple myeloma were analyzed by flow cytometric immunophenotyping. The plasma cells (PCs) were identified by their characteristic light scatter distribution and reactivity patterns to CD138, CD38, and CD45. Monoclonality was confirmed by immunoglobulin light chain analysis. The immunophenotypic profile of the PCs was determined with a panel of antibodies. Moderate to bright expression of CD56, CD117, CD20, CD45, and CD52 was detected in 71.7%, 17.8%, 9.3%, 8.8%, and 5.2% of cases, respectively. These antigens were expressed by a distinct subpopulation of the PCs in 6.3%, 2.2%, 3.7%, 2.9%, and 2.6% of additional cases. CD19 was negative in more than 99% of cases. The combination of CD38 and CD138 was superior to CD38 alone for identifying CD45+ myeloma and separating CD20+ myeloma from B-cell lymphoma. PC immunophenotyping might be useful for detecting minimal residual disease in cases with aberrant antigen expression and for selection of therapeutic agents that have specific membrane targets.