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Ther Drug Monit. 2009 Apr;31(2):198-204. doi: 10.1097/FTD.0b013e31819c6a37.

Multi-site analytical evaluation of the Abbott ARCHITECT tacrolimus assay.

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  • 1Cliniques universitaires St. Luc, Universit√© catholique de Louvain, 10 Hippocrate Avenue, Brussels, Belgium.


The objective of this study was to evaluate the analytical performance of the Abbott ARCHITECT Tacrolimus immunoassay. Proficiency panels and specimens from a population of organ transplant recipients were analyzed in 6 clinical laboratories in Europe and the United States, and the results were compared with other methods. The ARCHITECT assay requires a whole blood specimen pretreatment step with methanol/zinc sulfate to precipitate protein and extract the drug, followed by a 30-minute immunoassay using anti-tacrolimus antibody-coated paramagnetic microparticles and an acridinium-tacrolimus tracer. The assay was free from hematocrit interference in the range 25%-55% and from interference by extremes of cholesterol, triglycerides, bilirubin, total protein, and uric acid. The total percent of coefficient of variations of the assay were 4.9%-7.6% at 3 ng/mL, 2.9%-4.6% at 8.6 ng/mL, and 3.1%-8.2% at 15.5 ng/mL. Limit of detection was < or =0.5 ng/mL and limit of quantification (LOQ) ranged from 0.69 to 1.07 ng/mL across the 6 sites (based on the upper 95% confidence interval concentrations). The 2007 European Consensus Conference on Tacrolimus Optimization recommended the use of assay methods with an LOQ around 1 ng/mL, based upon the need to measure trough tacrolimus blood concentrations precisely down to 3 ng/mL during low-dose tacrolimus regimens. Tacrolimus International Proficiency Testing Scheme samples were measured by the ARCHITECT immunoassay at 5 sites and showed an average bias of -0.28 to +0.85 ng/mL versus IMx Tacrolimus II immunoassay historical values and -0.21 to +0.68 ng/mL versus liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MSMS) Tacrolimus historical values. Method comparison studies were performed with the ARCHITECT Tacrolimus immunoassay on patient specimens with the following results: ARCHITECT Tacrolimus assay versus the Abbott IMx Tacrolimus II immunoassay (4 sites) yielded average biases between -0.94 and +0.26 ng/mL; ARCHITECT assay versus the Dade Dimension Tacrolimus immunoassay (2 sites) yielded average biases of -0.46 and +0.11 ng/mL; and ARCHITECT assay versus LC-MSMS methods at 2 sites yielded average biases of +0.51 and +1.63 ng/mL. Spearman correlation coefficients were >/=0.90 on all method comparisons. The ARCHITECT Tacrolimus assay is a semiautomated, robust, and highly sensitive immunoassay, representing an alternative approach for laboratories not equipped with LC-MSMS, and meets the 1 ng/mL recommendation of LOQ by the European Consensus Conference on Tacrolimus Optimization.

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