Accreditation, setting and experience as indicators to assure quality in oncology biomarker testing laboratories

Veronique Tack, Ed Schuuring, Cleo Keppens, Nils 't Hart, Patrick Pauwels, Han van Krieken, Elisabeth M. C. Dequeker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
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BACKGROUND: Predictive biomarkers allow clinicians to optimise cancer treatment decisions. Therefore, molecular biomarker test results need to be accurate and swiftly available. To ensure quality of oncology biomarker testing, external quality assessments (EQA) for somatic variant analyses were organised. This study hypothesised whether laboratory characteristics influence the performance of laboratories and whether these can be imposed before authorisation of biomarker testing.

METHODS: Longitudinal EQA data from the European Society of Pathology were available over six (metastatic colorectal cancer) and four years (non-small cell lung cancer), including the percentage of analysis errors and technical failures, and information on laboratory characteristics (accreditation status, laboratory setting, number of samples analysed and detection method). Statistical models for repeated measurements were used to analyse the association between the EQA results and the laboratory characteristics.

RESULTS: Laboratory accreditation was associated with fewer analysis errors in early stages of biomarker introduction into the laboratory. Analysing more samples, or university and research laboratories showed better performance. Changing the detection method did not have an effect.

CONCLUSION: The indicators support the clinicians in choosing molecular pathology laboratories by improving quality assurance and guaranteeing patient safety. Accreditation of laboratories, centralisation of biomarker testing or a university and research setting should be stimulated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-614
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 28-Aug-2018


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