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  • Author: Anna-Maria Kahrs x
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Background: The metrological traceability of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) assay calibration to WHO standards is desirable to potentially improve the comparability between PSA assays. A method comparison was performed between the traditionally standardized Beckman Coulter Hybritech Access PSA and free PSA (fPSA) assays and a new alternate calibration of assays aligned to the WHO standards 96/670 and 96/668, respectively.

Methods: Sera from 641 men with and without prostate cancer, various control materials and mixtures of different proportions of the WHO standards were measured with both assay calibrations.

Results: Excellent comparability between the corresponding assay calibrations was observed, with correlation coefficients of at least 0.996. The Passing-Bablok slopes were 0.747 for total PSA (tPSA), 0.776 for fPSA and 1.02 for the percentage ratio of fPSA to tPSA (%fPSA), while the corresponding percentages of the new WHO-aligned assay results related to the traditional assays were 76.2%, 77% and 102.2%. Receiver operating characteristics revealed no differences between the two PSA assay calibrations.

Conclusions: The WHO calibration yields results approximately 25% lower for tPSA and fPSA values when compared with the conventional Hybritech calibration. Using the WHO-aligned PSA assay, a tPSA cut-off of 3 μg/L should be considered in clinical practice, while %fPSA cut-offs could be retained.

Clin Chem Lab Med 2008;46:623–9.



The dietary management of methylmalonic acidaemia (MMA) is a low-protein diet providing sufficient energy to avoid catabolism and to limit production of methylmalonic acid. The goal is to achieve normal growth, good nutritional status and the maintenance of metabolic stability.


To describe the dietary management of patients with MMA across Europe.


A cross-sectional questionnaire was sent to European colleagues managing inherited metabolic disorders (IMDs) (n=53) with 27 questions about the nutritional management of organic acidaemias. Data were analysed by different age ranges (0–6 months; 7–12 months; 1–10 years; 11–16 years; >16 years).


Questionnaires were returned from 53 centres. Twenty-five centres cared for 80 patients with MMA vitamin B12 responsive (MMAB12r) and 43 centres managed 215 patients with MMA vitamin B12 non-responsive (MMAB12nr). For MMAB12r patients, 44% of centres (n=11/25) prescribed natural protein below the World Health Organization/Food and Agriculture Organization/United Nations University (WHO/FAO/UNU) 2007 safe levels of protein intake in at least one age range. Precursor-free amino acids (PFAA) were prescribed by 40% of centres (10/25) caring for 36% (29/80) of all the patients. For MMAB12nr patients, 72% of centres (n=31/43) prescribed natural protein below the safe levels of protein intake (WHO/FAO/UNU 2007) in at least one age range. PFAA were prescribed by 77% of centres (n=33/43) managing 81% (n=174/215) of patients. In MMAB12nr patients, 90 (42%) required tube feeding: 25 via a nasogastric tube and 65 via a gastrostomy.


A high percentage of centres used PFAA in MMA patients together with a protein prescription that provided less than the safe levels of natural protein intake. However, there was inconsistent practices across Europe. Long-term efficacy studies are needed to study patient outcome when using PFAA with different severities of natural protein restrictions in patients with MMA to guide future practice.