Human chorionic gonadotropin suspected heterophile interference investigations in immunoassays: a recommended approach.

A new interesting article has been published in Clin Chem Lab Med. 2019 Jul 26;57(8):1192-1196. doi: 10.1515/cclm-2018-1142. and titled:

Human chorionic gonadotropin suspected heterophile interference investigations in immunoassays: a recommended approach.

Authors of this article are:

Jara-Aguirre JC, Baumann NA, Block DR, Algeciras-Schimnich A.

A summary of the article is shown below:

Background Heterophile antibody (HAb) interferences in immunoassays can cause falsely elevated hCG concentrations leading to incorrect diagnosis and treatments options. When results are not consistent with the clinical findings, hCG HAb interference investigation may be requested by the physician. A retrospective evaluation of the frequency of HAb interference was performed among cases of physician-requested investigations and the effectiveness of commercially available blocking reagents to detect HAb interference in two immunoassay systems was evaluated. Methods One hundred and thirteen physician requests for hCG HAb investigation from 2008 to 2017 were reviewed. The primary method used to measure hCG was the Beckman Coulter Access Total βhCG (2008-2010) and the Roche Elecsys HCG+β (2014-2017). HAb investigation included measurement by two immunoassays before and after treatment of samples with heterophile blocking reagents and serial dilution studies. Results Five cases of HAb and HAb-like interference were identified. The interference frequency was 6.7% for the Beckman assay and 2.9% for the Roche assay. The presence of HAb was detected using heterophile blocking reagents and an alternative method in three cases. The other two cases were detected due to discrepant results with an alternative method and non-linear serial dilutions (HAb-like). Conclusions HAb interference was observed in the Beckman and the Roche assays. The heterophile blocking reagents failed to detect 40% of interference cases. Blocking reagents should not solely be used for these investigations. Multiple strategies including the use of serial dilutions and using an alternative platform are critical when troubleshooting interferences in hCG immunoassays.

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This article is a good source of information and a good way to become familiar with topics such as: hCG;heterophile antibody;heterophile blocking reagents;immunoassay interference;phantom hCG.

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