Clinical Validation of Simultaneous Analysis of Tacrolimus, Cyclosporine A, and Creatinine in Dried Blood Spots in Kidney Transplant Patients

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Monitoring of creatinine and immunosuppressive drug concentrations, such as tacrolimus (TaC) and cyclosporin A (CsA), is important in the outpatient follow-up of kidney transplant recipients. Monitoring by dried blood spot (DBS) provides patients the opportunity to sample a drop of blood from a fingerprick at home, which can be sent to the laboratory by mail.


We performed a clinical validation in which we compared measurements from whole-blood samples obtained by venapuncture with measurements from DBS samples simultaneously obtained by fingerprick. After exclusion of 10 DBS for poor quality, and 2 for other reasons, 199, 104, and 58 samples from a total of 172 patients were available for validation of creatinine, TaC and CsA, respectively. Validation was performed by means of Passing & Bablok regression, and bias was assessed by Bland-Altman analysis.


For creatinine, we found y = 0.73x - 1.55 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] slope, 0.71-0.76), giving the conversion formula: (creatinine plasma concentration in μmol/L) = (creatinine concentration in DBS in μmol/L)/0.73, with a nonclinically relevant bias of −2.1 μmol/L (95% CI, −3.7 to −0.5 μmol/L). For TaC, we found y = 1.00x - 0.23 (95% CI slope, 0.91-1.08), with a nonclinically relevant bias of −0.28 μg/L (95% CI, −0.45 to −0.12 μg/L). For CsA, we found y = 0.99x - 1.86 (95% CI slope, 0.91-1.08) and no significant bias. Therefore, for neither TaC nor CsA, a conversion formula is required.


DBS sampling for the simultaneous analysis of immunosuppressants and creatinine can replace conventional venous sampling in daily routine.

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