Characterization of the scope and magnitude of biotin interference in susceptible Roche Elecsys competitive and sandwich immunoassays

Ann Clin Biochem. 2018 Mar;55(2):205-215. doi: 10.1177/0004563217701777. Epub 2017 Sep 6.


Background Biotin interference is a significant problem to which at-risk laboratories must now be attuned. We sought to systematically characterize the nature of this interference in Roche immunoassays. Methods Known concentrations of biotin were titrated into serum samples and the effects on competitive and sandwich immunoassays were analysed. The maximum and minimum concentrations examined reflect those likely to be achieved in individuals on 5 to 10 mg supplements at the lower end, and 100 to 300 mg biotin at the high end. Results A high variability in biotin tolerance was observed. Some assays, such as troponin T, TSH and antithyroid antibodies, were extremely sensitive to the lower concentrations of biotin (15.6 and 31.3 ng/mL), whereas the majority of assays were relatively resistant. At concentrations ≥500 ng/mL, all assays showed significant interference from biotin but, again, the magnitude of the interference was variable. The more sensitive assays showed profound analytical bias at biotin concentrations that occur with high-dose therapy. Conclusion Our data demonstrate high variability in biotin tolerance across Roche immunoassays. The shape of the dose-response curves provides more detailed information than the single manufacturer-quoted figure for biotin tolerance. Accordingly, these data may be used by laboratories for more accurate risk assessment in predicting the effects of biotin. Our data may also be extrapolated to guide timing of blood tests in patients on high-dose biotin therapy: it demonstrates the number of half-lives required to withhold biotin in order to decrease its concentration to below a given assay tolerance.

Keywords: Biotin; Elecsys; Roche; immunoassay; interference.

MeSH terms

  • Artifacts
  • Biotin / administration & dosage
  • Biotin / blood
  • Biotin / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay / methods*


  • Biotin