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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter October 17, 2019

Understanding and managing interferences in clinical laboratory assays: the role of laboratory professionals

  • Martina Zaninotto and Mario Plebani ORCID logo EMAIL logo


The recently raised concerns regarding biotin interference in immunoassays have increased the awareness of laboratory professionals and clinicians of the evidence that the analytical phase is still vulnerable to errors, particularly as analytical interferences may lead to erroneous results and risks for patient safety. The issue of interference in laboratory testing, which is not new, continues to be a challenge deserving the concern and interest of laboratory professionals and clinicians. Analytical interferences should be subdivided into two types on the basis of the possibility of their detection before the analytical process. The first (type 1) is represented by lipemia, hemolysis and icterus, and the second (type 2), by unusual constituents that are not undetectable before analysis, and may affect the matrix of serum/plasma of individual subjects. Type 2 cannot be identified with current techniques when performing the pre-analytical phase. Therefore, in addition to a more careful evaluation and validation of the method to be used in clinical practice, the awareness of laboratory professionals should be raised as to the importance of evaluating the quality of biological samples before analysis and to adopt algorithms and approaches in the attempt to reduce problems related to erroneous results due to specific or non-specific interferences.

Corresponding author: Prof. Mario Plebani, Department of Laboratory Medicine, University-Hospital of Padova, Padova, Italy, Phone: 0498212792

  1. Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  2. Research funding: None declared.

  3. Employment or leadership: None declared.

  4. Honorarium: None declared.

  5. Competing interests: The funding organization(s) played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the report for publication.


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Received: 2019-08-23
Accepted: 2019-09-15
Published Online: 2019-10-17
Published in Print: 2020-02-25

©2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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