Nikola Baumann, Ph.D., Director of the Central Clinical Laboratory and Central Processing Laboratory, and Brooke Katzman, Ph.D., Co-Director of the Hospital Clinical Laboratory and Point of Care, at Mayo Clinic, recently discussed biotin interference in immunoassays in an article in 360Dx. According to the article, patients may be consuming greater quantities of biotin, a supplement taken to support the health of their skin, hair, and nails, but as a result, they may also be interfering with some of their own diagnostic test results.
As a result, clinical laboratories are developing methods to mitigate the risks associated with inaccurate results from certain immunoassays. According to Dr. Baumann, "As part of their mitigation strategies, lab directors are collaborating with physicians and in vitro diagnostic manufacturers to raise awareness but not to raise alarm."
The article covers a study published in the journal Endocrine Practice that stated "the recent, marked increase in the use of over-the-counter, high-dose biotin supplements has been accompanied by a steady increase in the number of reports of analytical interference by exogenous biotin in the immunoassays used to evaluate endocrine function."
The researchers wrote that biotin-related analytical interference is a problem that touches every area of internal medicine, "since immunoassay methods of similar design are also used for the diagnosis and management of anemia, malignancies, autoimmune and infectious diseases, and cardiac damage."
"Based on the volume of consumer advertising that we're seeing, our assumption is that there's an increase in interest or potential use of biotin," and that is contributing to testing issues in laboratories, said Dr. Katzman. "Depending on the test method or type of reaction—and whether it's a competitive immunoassay or sandwich immunoassay, for example—biotin affects whether the result is falsely increased or falsely decreased."
Drs. Baumann and Katzman have been studying the issue with colleagues at Mayo Clinic since they first confirmed that biotin had interfered with a thyroid hormone lab test in 2015. Read the full article.