The use and abuse of commercial kits used to detect autoantibodies

Arthritis Res Ther. 2003;5(4):192-201. doi: 10.1186/ar782. Epub 2003 Jun 9.


The detection of autoantibodies in human sera is an important approach to the diagnosis and management of patients with autoimmune conditions. To meet market demands, manufacturers have developed a wide variety of easy to use and cost-effective diagnostic kits that are designed to detect a variety of human serum autoantibodies. A number of studies over the past two decades have suggested that there are limitations and concerns in the use and clinical application of test results derived from commercial kits. It is important to appreciate that there is a complex chain of users and circumstances that contributes to variations in the apparent reliability of commercial kits. The goal of this review is to identify the principal links in this chain, to identify the factors that weaken the chain and to propose a plan of resolution. It is suggested that a higher level of commitment and partnership between all of the participants is required to achieve the goal of improving the quality of patient care through the use of autoantibody testing and analysis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Ethics Committees, Clinical
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Industry
  • Laboratories / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic / economics
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic / standards*


  • Autoantibodies
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic