Performance and specificity of monoclonal immunoassays for cyclosporine monitoring: How specific is specific?

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Background: Immunoassays designed for the selective measurement of cyclosporin A (CsA) inadvertently show cross-reactivity for CsA metabolites. The extent and clinical significance of the resulting overestimation is controversial. A comprehensive assessment of old and new methods in clinical specimens is needed. Methods: In a comprehensive evaluation, CsA was analyzed in 145 samples with the new CEDIA® assay and compared with the Emit® assay with the old and new pretreatments, the TDx® monoclonal and polyclonal assays, the AxSYM®, and HPLC. All samples were from patients with liver and/or kidney transplants. Results: The CEDIA offered the easiest handling, followed by the AxSYM, which showed the longest calibration stability. The TDx monoclonal assay provided the lowest detection limit and the lowest CVs. The mean differences compared with HPLC were as follows: Emit, 9-12%; CEDIA, 18%; AxSYM, 29%; and TDx monoclonal, 57%. The CycloTrac® RIA paralleled the Emit results. In contrast to the mean differences, substantial (>200%) and variable overestimations of the CsA concentration were observed in individual patient samples. Metabolic ratios, estimates of the overall concentrations of several cross-reacting metabolites (nonspecific TDx polyclonal/specific reference method), correlated with the apparent biases of the various monoclonal assays. Metabolic ratios varied up to 10-fold, which translated into biases for individual samples between -7% and +174%. The higher the cross-reactivity of an assay was, the higher was the range of biases observed. The inter-individual differences markedly exceeded other factors of influence (organ transplanted, hepatic function). Conclusion: Because assay bias cannot be predicted in individual samples, substantially erratic CsA dosing can result. The specificity of CsA assays for parent CsA remains a major concern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-381
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999


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