BMC research notes 2017 12 0810(1) 725 doi 10.1186/s13104-017-3050-6
Thyroglobulin (Tg) measurements assess recurrence in post-thyroidectomy thyroid cancer patients. Tg measurements by enzyme immunoassays (EIA) can be falsely elevated by interference from Tg autoantibodies (TgAb). Radioimmunoassay (RIA) is less susceptible to TgAb interference and has been the standard-of-care test for TgAb positive patients. Recently developed liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) methods may eliminate TgAb interference. We assessed the performance of Tg measurements by EIA, RIA and LC-MS/MS to evaluate TgAb interference differences.
We measured TgAb and Tg in 50 plasma samples from 40 patients in whom Tg measurement was part of their routine follow-up and 10 healthy volunteers. Discrepancy between EIA and both LC-MS/MS and RIA was observed at low Tg concentrations (≤ 7.55 ng/mL) in TgAb positive specimens (LC-MS/MS = 1.9 * EIA – 0.03, r = 0.68). RIA and LC-MS/MS Tg measurements in TgAb positive specimens with low Tg concentrations had improved correlation but demonstrated bias (LC MS/MS = 0.6 * RIA – 1.4, r = 0.90). Disagreement between methods may be attributed to LC-MS/MS reported Tg concentrations as undetectable compared to RIA. It seems likely that most discrepant cases are falsely elevated in RIA due to TgAb interference, however, some cases appear below the detection limit of LC-MS/MS; implementation of LC-MS/MS by clinicians will require lower detection limits.