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Muley, Thomas; Ebert, Werner; Stieber, Petra; Raith, Hannelore; Holdenrieder, Stefan; Nagel, Dorothea; Fürst, Heinrich; Roth, Hans-Jürgen; Luthe, Hilmar; Blijenberg, Bert G.; Gurr, Eberhard; Uhl, Wolfgang; Pawel, Joachim von; Drings, Peter (2003): Technical performance and diagnostic utility of the new Elecsys (R) neuron-specific enolase enzyme immunoassay. In: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, Vol. 41, No. 1: pp. 95-103




This international multicenter study was designed to evaluate the technical performance of the new double-monoclonal, single-step Elecsys neuron-specific enolase (NSE) enzyme immunoassay (EIA) and to assess its utility as a sensitive and specific test for the diagnosis of small-cell lung cancer (SCLC). Intra and interassay coefficients of variation, determined in five control or serum specimens in six laboratories, ranged from 0.7 to 5.3 (interlaboratory median: 1.3%) and from 1.3 to 8.5 (interlaboratory median: 3.4%), respectively. Laboratory-to-laboratory comparability was excellent with respect to recovery and interassay coefficients of variation. The test was linear between 0.0 and 320 ng/ml (highest measured concentration). There was a significant correlation between NSE concentrations measured using the Elecsys NSE and the established Cobas Core NSE EIA II in all subjects (n=723) and in patients with lung cancer (n=333). However, NSE concentrations were systematically lower (approximately 9%) with the Elecsys NSE than with the comparison test. Based on a specificity of 95% in comparison with the group suffering from benign lung diseases (n=183), the cutoff value for the discrimination between malignant and benign conditions was set at 21.6 ng/ml. NSE was raised in 73.4% of SCLC patients (n=188) and was significantly higher (p<0.01) in extensive (87.8%) as opposed to limited disease (56.7%). NSE was also elevated in 16.0% of the cases with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC, n=374). It is concluded that the Elecsys NSE EIA is a reliable and accurate diagnostic procedure for the measurement of NSE in serum samples. The special merits of this new assay are the wide measuring range (according to manufacturers declaration up to 370 ng/ml) and a short incubation time of 18 min.