Describing Assay Precision—Reciprocal of Variance Is Correct, Not CV Percent: Its Use Should Significantly Improve Laboratory Performance


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Abstract

Background:Describing assay error as percent coefficient of variation (CV%) fails as measurements approach zero. Results are censored if below some arbitrarily chosen lower limit of quantification (LLOQ). CV% gives incorrect weighting to data obtained by therapeutic drug monitoring, with incorrect parameter values in the resulting pharmacokinetic models, and incorrect dosage regimens for patient care.Methods:CV% was compared with the reciprocal of the variance (1/var) of each assay measurement. This method has not been considered by the laboratory community. A simple description of assay standard deviation (SD) as a polynomial function of the assay measurement over its working range was developed, the reciprocal of the assay variance determined, and its results compared with CV%.Results:CV% does not provide correct weighting of measured serum concentrations as required for optimal therapeutic drug monitoring. It does not permit optimally individualized models of the behavior of a drug in a patient, resulting in incorrect dosage regimens. The assay error polynomial described here, using 1/var, provides correct weighting of such data, all the way down to and including zero. There is no need to censor low results, and no need to set any arbitrary LLOQ.Conclusions:Reciprocal of variance is the correct measure of assay precision and should replace CV%. The information is easily stored as an assay error polynomial. The laboratory can serve the medical community better. There is no longer any need for LLOQ, a significant improvement. Regulatory agencies should implement this more informed policy.

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