Multicenter performance evaluation of a second generation cortisol assay

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Abstract

Background:

Untreated disorders of the adrenocortical system, such as Cushing's or Addison's disease, can be fatal, and accurate quantification of a patient's cortisol levels is vital for diagnosis. The objective of this study was to assess the analytical performance of a new fully-automated Elecsys® Cortisol II assay (second generation) to measure cortisol levels in serum and saliva.

Methods:

Four European investigational sites assessed the intermediate precision and reproducibility of the Cortisol II assay (Roche Diagnostics) under routine conditions. Method comparisons of the Cortisol II assay vs. liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), the gold standard for cortisol measurement, were performed. Cortisol reference ranges from three US sites were determined using samples from self-reported healthy individuals.

Results:

The coefficients of variation (CVs) for repeatability, intermediate precision, and reproducibility for serum samples were ≤2.6%, ≤5.8%, and ≤9.5%, respectively, and for saliva were ≤4.4% and ≤10.9%, and ≤11.4%, respectively. Agreement between the Cortisol II assay and LC-MS/MS in serum samples was close, with a slope of 1.02 and an intercept of 4.473 nmol/L. Reference range samples were collected from healthy individuals (n=300) and serum morning cortisol concentrations (5–95th percentile) were 166.1–507 nmol/L and afternoon concentrations were 73.8–291 nmol/L. Morning, afternoon, and midnight saliva concentrations (95th percentile) were 20.3, 6.94, and 7.56 nmol/L, respectively.

Conclusions:

The Cortisol II assay had good precision over the entire measuring range and had excellent agreement with LC-MS/MS. This test was found suitable for routine diagnostic application and will be valuable for the diagnosis of adrenocortical diseases.

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