Multicenter evaluation of the commutability of a potential reference material for harmonization of enzyme activities


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Abstract

Standardization of laboratory results allows for the use of common reference intervals and can be achieved via calibration of field methods with secondary reference materials. These harmonization materials should be commutable, i.e., they produce identical numerical results independent of assay principle or platform. This study assessed the commutability of a cryolyoprotectant-containing harmonization material, obtained from the Dutch Foundation for Quality Assessment in Clinical Laboratories, that is intended to harmonize measurements of enzyme activities within the Dutch project “Calibration 2000”. The catalytic concentrations of alkaline phosphatase, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, lactate dehydrogenase, γ-glutamyltransferase and creatine kinase were analyzed in pooled patient sera and in the reference material in 14 laboratories. On liquid chemistry analyzers the harmonization material behaves like patient material. The enzyme activities measured in it fall on the regression lines calculated from activities measured in serum samples. For dry chemistry analyzers the activities of all enzymes measured in the harmonizator differ from the serumbased regression line. We show that this is due to the sucrose-containing cryolyoprotectant in the harmonization material. For each enzyme, correction factors were calculated that compensated for the bias and proved to be constant between reagent lots. Depending on the enzyme activity measured, application of these factors leads to 2- to 10-fold reduction of between-laboratory percentage coefficient of variation. Thus, additives to (potential) reference materials may alter their matrix in a way that interferes with analysis on certain test systems. The bias caused may be quantifiable and correctable. Establishment of correction factors leads to analytical uncertainties and costs. Therefore, matrix-based materials without additives should be selected as reference materials.

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