IFCC reference system for measurement of hemoglobin A1c in human blood and the national standardization schemes in the United States, Japan, and Sweden: a method-comparison study

Clin Chem. 2004 Jan;50(1):166-74. doi: 10.1373/clinchem.2003.024802.


Background: The national programs for the harmonization of hemoglobin (Hb)A(1c) measurements in the US [National Glycohemoglobin Standardization Program (NGSP)], Japan [Japanese Diabetes Society (JDS)/Japanese Society of Clinical Chemistry (JSCC)], and Sweden are based on different designated comparison methods (DCMs). The future basis for international standardization will be the reference system developed by the IFCC Working Group on HbA(1c) Standardization. The aim of the present study was to determine the relationships between the IFCC Reference Method (RM) and the DCMs.

Methods: Four method-comparison studies were performed in 2001-2003. In each study five to eight pooled blood samples were measured by 11 reference laboratories of the IFCC Network of Reference Laboratories, 9 Secondary Reference Laboratories of the NGSP, 3 reference laboratories of the JDS/JSCC program, and a Swedish reference laboratory. Regression equations were determined for the relationship between the IFCC RM and each of the DCMs.

Results: Significant differences were observed between the HbA(1c) results of the IFCC RM and those of the DCMs. Significant differences were also demonstrated between the three DCMs. However, in all cases the relationship of the DCMs with the RM were linear. There were no statistically significant differences between the regression equations calculated for each of the four studies; therefore, the results could be combined. The relationship is described by the following regression equations: NGSP-HbA(1c) = 0.915(IFCC-HbA(1c)) + 2.15% (r(2) = 0.998); JDS/JSCC-HbA(1c) = 0.927(IFCC-HbA(1c)) + 1.73% (r(2) = 0.997); Swedish-HbA(1c) = 0.989(IFCC-HbA(1c)) + 0.88% (r(2) = 0.996).

Conclusion: There is a firm and reproducible link between the IFCC RM and DCM HbA(1c) values.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Chemical Analysis / methods
  • Blood Chemical Analysis / standards
  • Calibration
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis*
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / standards
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • National Health Programs
  • Reference Standards
  • Sweden
  • United States


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A