Antiphospholipid antibody testing and standardization

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Abstract

The laboratory criteria that define patients with antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) include lupus anticoagulant (LAC), anticardiolipin antibodies and anti-β2 glycoprotein I antibodies (aβ2GPI). All assays show methodological shortcomings and the combination of the three tests, each with different sensitivity and specificity, and hence, differences in clinical utility make the laboratory diagnosis of APS challenging. Consensus guidelines and proposals for antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) testing have been published in the last 20 years and have led to a substantial improvement. Despite efforts so far, standardization is not reached yet, but progress has been made. On-going efforts to reduce the interlaboratory/interassay variations remain important; even an absolute standardization cannot be feasibly achieved. Taking into account the methodological shortcomings of the means we have available, more detailed guidelines may help in adequate performance of aPL testing. This review will focus on the efforts and achievements in standardization and on the weaknesses and strengths of the current available laboratory methods.

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