External quality assurance program for PCR amplification of genomic DNA: An Italian experience

Claudia Casini Raggi, Pamela Pinzani, Angelo Paradiso, Mario Pazzagli, Claudio Orlando

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: External quality assurance (EQA) programs for diagnostic tests based on nucleic acid amplification have not been widely implemented in clinical laboratories and remain limited to few tests. Development of specific EQA programs based on application-based proficiency testing for any diagnostic molecular target is challenging. Development of EQA trials based on methodologic proficiency testing and directed to the evaluation of analytical aspects common to the majority of PCR-based tests may be valuable. Methods: We developed an EQA program for evaluation of DNA extraction and amplification and analysis of products after PCR. Participants received a package containing primers and reference materials to evaluate three specific controls for, respectively, DNA extraction (quality and quantity), PCR performance (specificity and efficiency), and interpretation of results after electrophoresis. Each participant was asked to return to the organizers a form with their numerical results and an aliquot of all amplified samples for joint evaluation. Results: Results varied in all phases of the experimental procedure: preamplification, amplification, and post-PCR interpretation. To give a general estimation on the quality of performances for each laboratory, we designed a score scheme in which the results of any specific action were evaluated on the basis of the distribution around the median consensus values. The maximum possible score was 84. On the basis of total score obtained by each laboratory, we created a qualitative ranking list that provided the final interpretation of results as excellent (>63 points; n = 4 laboratories), good (53-63 points; n = 13), sufficient (42-52 points; n = 15), poor (31-41 points; n = 3), and not acceptable (

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)782-791
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Chemistry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry


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