The reduced sensitivity of the ProC® Global test in protein S deficient subjects reflects a reduction in the associated thrombotic risk

D. Gemmati, M. L. Serino, S. Tognazzo, A. Ongaro, S. Moratelli, G. Gilli, E. Forini, M. De Mattei, G. L. Scapoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To investigate simultaneously a defect affecting the protein C/protein S (PC/PS) anticoagulant pathway is possible thanks to a methodological approach (ProC® Global; Dade Behring) based on the activation of endogenous plasma PC by a snake venom extract. Factor V (FV) Leiden, the most frequent cause of hereditary thrombosis, is well detected by the test with sensitivity of 100% irrespective of the presence/absence of thrombosis in the subjects investigated. The test is also suited to detect PC or PS defect, but in this case the in vitro impairment of the PC/PS pathway is less pronounced particularly for PS defects (sensitivity for PC and PS defect, 85-100 and 30-90%, respectively). In this study, we hypothesized that the lower sensitivity described for PS defect, compared with those of PC and FV Leiden defects, could also be related to the clinical condition of the subject investigated (symptomatic/asymptomatic) rather than solely to the PS plasma activity/level. Therefore, we analyzed 126 subjects with single congenital defects in the PC/PS pathway: 46 subjects with PS deficiency (26 thrombotic cases and 20 asymptomatic relatives), 40 subjects with PC deficiency (25 thrombotic cases and 15 asymptomatic relatives), and 40 heterozygous FV Leiden subjects (25 thrombotic cases and 15 asymptomatic relatives). By a cut-off of normalized Agkistrodon contortix snake venom ratio of 0.84, the sensitivity in the whole group of cases (sensitivity a) was 76.1, 95.0 and 100%, respectively, for PS, PC and FV Leiden defects. The test failed to detect 11 (23.9%) among the 46 PS-deficient subjects, and all these cases except two belonged to the asymptomatic subgroup (9/20; 45%). Excluding the 20 asymptomatic relatives, the new sensitivity (sensitivity b) for the PS defect was 92.3%. The comparison of the sensitivity in the symptomatic PS cases and in the asymptomatic ones was significantly different (P = 0.010). Among the 40 PC-deficient subjects, only two (5.0%) were not detected by the test and they belonged indifferently to the two subgroups. Finally, none of the 40 FV Leiden heterozygotes were misdiagnosed by the test. These results suggest that in symptomatic PS-deficient cases the test could reflect a post-thrombotic effect and/or reveal potential unidentified prothrombotic influences assessing a prothrombotic risk condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)691-697
Number of pages7
JournalBlood Coagulation and Fibrinolysis
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Factor V Leiden
  • Global test
  • ProcC®
  • Protein C
  • Protein S
  • Prothrombotic risk indicator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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