Background The purpose of this paper was to analyze the general diagnostic strength and performance of in vitro diagnostics for C-reactive protein and procalcitonin based on the results of external quality assessment schemes (EQAs). Methods We analyzed qualitative and quantitative data on both markers collected by the Society for Promotion Quality Assurance in Medical Laboratories (INSTAND e.V.) from 20 EQAs. The C-reactive protein evaluation was method-specific and the procalcitonin evaluation manufacturer-specific (pseudonymized). Coefficients of variation were determined in order to evaluate interlaboratory comparability and the performance of individual laboratories during the analyzed period was examined. Results Overall most of our participants were able to correctly distinguish the positive from the negative samples, but we occasionally observed also false-positive results for the immunological detection of C-reactive protein. For the semi-quantitative results of C-reactive protein we observed an overall median difference below 5% except for dry chemistry methods ( 21%). For procalcitonin two manufacturer collectives showed a good comparability, while one manufacturer detected up to 42% higher results. The coefficients of variation are promising for both analytes even though they surpass the manufacturer’s indication for some collectives. The performance of individual laboratories during the analyzed period was more stable for C-reactive protein than for procalcitonin. Conclusion In-vitro diagnostic testing for C-reactive protein and procalcitonin showed promising results in our EQAs but still further improvements are needed. We recommend stepping up research on reference measurement methods for both parameters to possibly enhancing the accuracy and diagnostic strength of such assays.
Wojtalewicz, N., Schellenberg, I., & Hunfeld, K. P. (2019). Evaluation of INSTAND e.V.’s external quality assessment for C-reactive protein and procalcitonin. PLoS ONE, 14(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0221426