The Italian external quality assessment scheme in classical cytogenetics: Four years of activity

G. Floridia, V. Falbo, F. Censi, F. Tosto, M. Salvatore, A. Baroncini, P. Battaglia, A. Conti, E. Donti, R. La Starza, L. Nitsch, M. Pierluigi, G. Piombo, F. Susca, M. Mancini, C. Mecucci, E. Calzolari, F. Dagna Bricarelli, G. Guanti, D. Taruscio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The Italian external quality assessment scheme in classical cytogenetics was started in 2001 as an activity funded by the National Health System and coordinated by the Italian Public Institute of Health. Objectives: The aim of our work is to present data from the first 4 years of activity, 2001-2004. Methods: Italian cytogenetics public laboratories were enrolled on a voluntary basis, and this nationwide program covered prenatal, postnatal and oncological diagnosis. The scheme is annual and retrospective; a panel of experts reviewed the quality of images and reports in order to assess technical, analytical and interpretative performance. Results: Over the 4-year period, the number of participating laboratories increased: from 36 in 2001, 46 in 2002, 49 in 2003 to 51 in 2004. The overall technical performance was satisfactory. Inadequacy or lack of information in reporting was the most frequent analytical inaccuracy identified in all parts of the scheme. However, the percentage of complete reports increased significantly during the period: by 36% in postnatal diagnosis between 2001 and 2004 (p <0.001) and by 42% in oncological diagnosis between 2002 and 2004 (p = 0.003). Conclusions: Our experience reveals that participation in external quality assessment programs has significant advantages, helping to standardize and to assure quality in cytogenetic testing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-303
Number of pages9
JournalCommunity Genetics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2008


  • Classical cytogenetics
  • External quality assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)


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