Preeclampsia is a significant cause of maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality worldwide. A clinically useful screening test that can predict development of preeclampsia at an early stage is urgently needed. The detection of podocyturia by immunohistochemistry after cell culture has been noted as a reliable marker for preeclampsia. However, this method is laborious and carries the risk of cell culture contamination. The aim of this study was to investigate the diagnostic value of quantitative polymerase chain reaction as a rapid method to detect preeclampsia. Clean-catch urine samples were collected from preeclamptic (n=35), healthy pregnant (n=34), and healthy nonpregnant (n=12) women. Furthermore, a control group of women with gestational hypertension (n=5) was included. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis was performed for podocyte-specific markers. Receiver operating characteristic curve analyses were performed. Significantly elevated mRNA levels of nephrin, podocin, and vascular endothelial growth factor were detected in preeclamptic women compared with healthy pregnant and healthy nonpregnant controls. In addition, significantly elevated levels of nephrin mRNA were detected in urine of preeclamptic women compared with women with gestational hypertension. A positive correlation (ρ=0.82; P<0.0001) was observed between nephrin and vascular endothelial growth factor mRNA levels in preeclamptic women. Receiver operating characteristic curve analyses demonstrated a strong ability of this method to discriminate between the different study groups. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis of podocyte-specific molecules in urine samples is a rapid and reliable method to quantify podocyturia. We demonstrate that this method distinguishes preeclamptic patients from healthy controls and women with gestational hypertension. This method may be a tool for the detection of preeclampsia at an earlier stage, thereby preventing maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality.