Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology, (2015) 33(1): 96-100 1

Original Article

Correlation between two chemiluminescence based assays for quantification of hepatitis B surface antigen in patients with chronic hepatitis B infection *E Gupta, P Pandey, A Kumar, MK Sharma, SK Sarin

Abstract Purpose: Hepatitis B surface Antigen (HBsAg) is the hallmark in diagnosing hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. In India many commercial assays are available for detection of HBsAg but very few can measure it quantitatively. The present study presents the comparative evaluation of two methods and their correlation with serum HBsAg in chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients. Materials and Methods: Consecutive patients of CHB were included and there HBsAg levels were measured by two methods: (i) Elecsys, Roche Diagnostics, a qualitative assay and (ii) Architect, Abbott Diagnostics, a quantitative assay. The HBV DNA was measured by real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Results: Total of 136 patients were included in the study and there was a significant overall correlation between both the assays (correlation coefficient [r] = 0.83; P < 0.001). Assays correlated well with each other across all subgroups of CHB: treatment naïve (r = 0.73; P < 0.001, n = 32), on treatment (r = 0.56; P < 0.05, n = 104), hepatitis Be (HBe) antigen positive (r = 0.67; P < 0.001, n = 62) and anti-HBe positive (r = 0.61; P < 0.05, n = 74) group. On correlation with serum HBV DNA, Architect assay demonstrated good correlation (r = 0.73; P < 0.001, n = 136) as compared to the Elecsys assay (r = 0.27; P = 0.068, n = 136). Architect HBsAg QT assay (A1) also correlated well with HBV DNA in the treatment naïve group (r = 0.69; P < 0.001, n = 32). Conclusions: Our study hence proved that both the assays are comparable and a simple qualitative assay with in-house modification can be used easily for quatitation of HBsAg in clinical samples. Key words: Architect HBsAg, chronic hepatitis B, elecsys HBsAg, HBsAg quantitation, hepatitis B virus DNA

Introduction Hepatitis B surface Antigen (HBsAg) is the hallmark in diagnosing hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.[1] In addition to its use as a qualitative marker, recently, there has been an increasing focus on quantitative HBsAg (qHBsAg) and its use in the management of patients with chronic hepatitis B virus infection (CHB).[2,3] The interest in qHBsAg started with the possible observation of its correlation with intra-hepatic HBV covalently closed circular (ccc) DNA, a true marker of HBV replication.[4-6] Various clinical applications of qHBsAg have been described.[7-11] It has been demonstrated that the combined use of qHBsAg *Corresponding author (email: ) Department of Virology (EG, PP), Department of Hepatology (AK, MKS, SKS), Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, India Received: 26-09-2013 Accepted: 27-11-2013 Access this article online Quick Response Code:

Website: PMID: *** DOI: 10.4103/0255-0857.148400

and HBV DNA might help in monitoring the response to anti-viral therapy in CHB patients. In comparison with nucleos (t) ide analogues (NAs), interferon-based therapy decline in qHBsAg correlate better with prognosis.[12,13] With the aid of qHBsAg, one can anticipate an individualised approach to tailoring the treatment duration in CHB patients.[14,15] Quantification of HBsAg can be done by a number of methods from radioimmuno assays (RIA) to fully automated chemiluminescence immunoassays (CLIA). The CLIA is more sensitive, specific, and can detect all circulating forms of HBsAg as well as mutants.[16] Limited commercial assays are available for the qHBsAg. The most widely used is the Architect HBsAg quantitation (QT) assay (Abbott Diagnostics, IL, USA) but qHBsAg may also be performed using a qualitative Elecsys HBsAg assay (Roche Diagnostics GmbH, Mannheim).[2,17] Quantitative HBsAg on Elecsys is also available (Elecsys HBsAg II), and has been compared with Architect assay but this kit is not available in India.[18,19] Limited studies are available where performance evaluation of a qualitative assay for HBsAg and its comparison with a quantitative assay in clinical samples has been investigated. Therefore, the aim of our study was to compare qHBsAg conducted with an established commercially available assay with a simple qualitative assay and then compare them with serum HBV DNA levels in the CHB patients as per their disease status.

January - March 2015

Gupta, et al.: Hepatitis B surface antigen quantitation

Materials and Methods Patients The study was carried out from January 2012 to August 2013. Total of 136 consecutive patients of CHB attending the outpatient clinic of our Institute were included. Following patients were excluded: (a) Patients with undetectable HBV DNA levels; (b) patients with co-infection with HCV, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or hepatitis delta virus (HDV); (c) patients with chronic renal failure with serum creatinine >4 mg/dL; (d) patients with autoimmune liver disease; and (e) patients who did not give their consent. Clinical evaluation Complete clinical evaluations of all the patients were reviewed using the clinical data repository of hospital information system. All study subjects’ sera were tested for routine hepatitis B serological markers (HBsAg, HBeAg, anti-HBe, anti-HBc total/IgM) by commercial methods (Architect i1000SR, Abbott Diagnostics, IL, USA). All sera were subjected to HBV DNA by real-time PCR and in all of them qHBsAg was done by both, ready- to-use commercially available quantitative assay (Architect HBsAg quantitation QT assay, Abbott Diagnostics, IL, USA) (A1) and a modified qualitative assay (Elecsys HBsAg assay, Roche Diagnostics GmbH, Mannheim) (A2). All study subjects were sub-grouped as per their HBe antigen and anti-viral treatment status. HBV DNA quantitation HBV DNA quantitation was done on patient’s plasma (500 μl) on COBAS TaqMan HBV test (Roche Diagnostics, GmbH, Mannheim, Germany). DNA was extracted using high pure extraction (Roche Diagnostics, GmbH, Mannheim, Germany) as per the manufacturer’s protocol followed by real-time PCR, based on dual labelled hybridisation probe targeting the pre-core and core regions of the HBV genomes. Results were expressed as international units (IU)/ml. Lower limit of detection for the assay is 6 IU/ml and linear range 29 to 1.1 × 108 IU/ml. HBsAg quantitation Architect HBsAg QT assay (A1) The qHBsAg levels were done on the fully automated Architect instrument as per the manufacturer’s protocol and results were expressed as IU/ml. This is a two-step CLIA, with flexible assay protocols referred to as chemiflex. In the first step, sample and anti-HBs coated paramagnetic micro particles are combined. HBsAg present in the sample binds to the anti-HBs coated micro particles. After washing, acridinium-labelled anti-HBs conjugate is added in the second step. The resulting chemiluminescent reaction is measured as relative light units (RLUs). A direct


relationship exists between the amount of HBsAg in the sample and the RLUs detected by the optical system. The concentration of HBsAg in the specimen is determined using a previously generated calibration curve. This assay allows the quantitation of HBsAg in undiluted serum/plasma samples from 0.05 to 250 IU/ml. Samples with an HBsAg level higher than 250 IU/ml require a 1:500 or greater dilution with the diluent provided by the manufacturer. Modified Elecsys HBsAg assay (A2) The Elecsys HBsAg assay is a two-step sandwich CLIA. The assay uses two biotinylated monoclonal HBsAg-specific capture antibodies together with a mixture of biotinylated and ruthenium-labelled polyclonal anti-HBs detection antibodies to form a sandwich complex with serum HBsAg. This complex is then bound to streptavidin-coated microparticles, with subsequent detection of ruthenium chemiluminescence. Samples were tested at a dilution of 1:400. Samples were diluted in phosphate buffered saline (PBS) and cutoff indices (c.o.i) were calculated as per the manufacturer’s protocol for qualitative assay. Samples yielding a c.o.i of ≥1.0 were expressed as c.o.i ×400, while samples with a c.o.i.

Correlation between two chemiluminescence based assays for quantification of hepatitis B surface antigen in patients with chronic hepatitis B infection.

Hepatitis B surface Antigen (HBsAg) is the hallmark in diagnosing hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. In India many commercial assays are available for...
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