Diagnostic usefulness of antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibody serology. Comparative evaluation of commercial indirect fluorescent antibody kits and enzyme immunoassay kits

Am J Clin Pathol. 1999 Mar;111(3):363-9. doi: 10.1093/ajcp/111.3.363.


Antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies (ANCAs) are increasingly used as serologic markers for pauci-immune crescentic glomerulonephritis and small vessel vasculitis. Many hospital laboratories and referral laboratories use commercial assay kits to detect ANCAs, despite inadequate documentation in the medical literature of kit performance. We evaluated the diagnostic sensitivity, specificity, and predictive value of 3 commercial indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) kits and 7 commercial enzyme immunoassay (EIA) kits for several ANCA subtypes. Serum samples from 396 patients with a variety of renal diseases were analyzed, including 146 patients with pauci-immune crescentic glomerulo-nephritis with or without systemic vasculitis. With 1 exception, the kits had more than 90% agreement with the reference standard and gave results similar to those of research laboratories. IFA diagnostic sensitivity ranged from 81% to 91% and EIA sensitivity from 75% to 84%. Maximum specificity was obtained with combined IFA and EIA. Diagnostic specificity was more than 70% for 2 of 3 IFA kits and at least 90% for 5 of 7 EIA kits. Predictive values varied with clinical manifestations. Most commercial IFA and EIA kits that were evaluated provide acceptably accurate analytic results.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic*
  • Biopsy
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect / standards*
  • Glomerulonephritis / complications
  • Glomerulonephritis / diagnosis
  • Glomerulonephritis / immunology
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques / standards*
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Kidney Diseases / immunology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic / standards*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Vasculitis / complications
  • Vasculitis / diagnosis
  • Vasculitis / immunology


  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic