Progress and impact of enzyme measurement standardization

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International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC) has established reference measurement procedures (RMPs) for the most popular enzymes. Manufacturers should assign values to commercial calibrators traceable to these RMPs to achieve equivalent results in clinical samples, independent of reagent kits, instruments, and laboratory where the measurement is carried out. The situation is, however, far from acceptable. Some manufacturers continue to market assays giving results that are not traceable to internationally accepted RMPs. Meanwhile, end-users often do not abandon assays with demonstrated insufficient quality. Of the enzyme measurements, creatine kinase (CK) is satisfactorily standardized and a substantial improvement in performance of marketed γ-glutamyltranspeptidase (GGT) assays has been demonstrated. Conversely, aminotransferase measurements often exceed the desirable analytical performance because of the lack of pyridoxal-5-phosphate addition in the commercial reagents. Measurements of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and α-amylase (AMY) still show major disagreement, suggesting the need for improvement in implementing traceability to higher-order references. This is mainly the result of using assays with different analytical selectivities for these enzymes. The definition by laboratory professionals of the clinically acceptable measurement uncertainty for each enzyme together with the adoption by EQAS of commutable materials and use of an evaluation approach based on trueness represent the way forward for reaching standardization in clinical enzymology.

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