Chronic renal failure is often associated with bone disorders, including secondary hyperparathyroidism, aluminum-related low-turnover bone disease, osteomalacia, adynamic osteopathy, osteoporosis, and skeletal beta2-microglobulin amyloid deposits. In spite of the enormous progress made during the last few years in the search of noninvasive methods to assess bone metabolism, the distinction between high- and low-turnover bone diseases in these patients still frequently requires invasive and/or costly procedures such as bone biopsy after double tetracycline labeling, scintigraphic-scan studies, computed tomography, and densitometry. This review is focused on the diagnostic value of several new serum markers of bone metabolism, including bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (bAP), procollagen type I carboxy-terminal extension peptide (PICP), procollagen type I cross-linked carboxy-terminal telopeptide (ICTP), pyridinoline (PYD), osteocalcin, and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) in patients with chronic renal failure. Most of the observations made by several groups converge to the conclusion that serum bAP is the most sensitive and specific marker to evaluate the degree of bone remodeling in uremic patients. Nonetheless, PYD and osteocalcin, in spite of their retention and accumulation in the serum of renal insufficient patients, are also excellent markers of bone turnover. The future generalized use of these markers, individually or in combination with other methods, will undoubtedly improve the diagnosis and the treatment of the complex renal osteodystrophy.