Results of the first international round robin for the quantification of urinary and plasma hepcidin assays: need for standardization

Haematologica. 2009 Dec;94(12):1748-52. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2009.010322.


The recently discovered iron regulatory peptide hormone hepcidin holds promise as a novel biomarker in iron metabolism disorders. To date, various mass spectrometry and immunochemical methods have been developed for its quantification in plasma and urine. Differences in methodology and analytical performance hinder the comparability of data. As a first step towards method harmonization, several hepcidin assays were compared. Worldwide eight laboratories participated in a urinary and plasma round robin in which hepcidin was analyzed. For both urine and plasma: (i) the absolute hepcidin concentrations differed widely between methods, (ii) the between-sample variation and the analytical variation of the methods are similar. Importantly, the analytical variation as percentage of the total variance is low for all methods, indicating their suitability to distinguish hepcidin levels of different samples. Spearman correlations between methods were generally high. The round robin results inform the scientific and medical community on the status and agreement of the current hepcidin methods. Ongoing initiatives should facilitate standardization by exchanging calibrators and representative samples.

MeSH terms

  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / blood*
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / urine*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques / standards*
  • Hepcidins
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Immunohistochemistry / standards
  • International Cooperation
  • Iron Metabolism Disorders / blood
  • Iron Metabolism Disorders / diagnosis
  • Iron Metabolism Disorders / urine
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Mass Spectrometry / standards
  • Reference Standards


  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • Biomarkers
  • HAMP protein, human
  • Hepcidins