Antinuclear antibody detection by automated multiplex immunoassay in untreated patients at the time of diagnosis.
Fully automated multiplex immunoassays are increasingly used as first line screening for antinuclear antibodies. The diagnostic performance of such multiplex assays in untreated patients at the time of diagnosis has not been reported. Antinuclear antibodies were measured by indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) (dilution 1:160) and by BioPlex 2200 ANA screen (antibodies to dsDNA, chromatin, ribosomal protein, SSA-52, SSA-60, SSB, Sm, SmRNP, RNP-A, RNP-68, Scl-70, Jo-1, and centromere B) in 236 patients with a systemic rheumatic disease at the time of diagnosis, 149 blood donors, 139 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and 134 diseased controls. BioPlex ANA screen and IIF were positive in, respectively, 79% and 90% of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), 60% and 60% with cutaneous lupus, 72% and 93% with systemic sclerosis (SSc), 100% and 100% with mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD), 89% and 56% with primary Sjögrens (SS) syndrome, 36% and 36% with polymyositis/dermatomyositis, 5.4% and 6% of blood donors, 7.2% and 3.6% of patients with CFS, and 11% and 18% of diseased controls. BioPlex test result interval specific likelihood ratios increased with increasing antibody concentration. The simultaneous presence of at least three antibodies by BioPlex was found in 35% of patients with SLE, 4% with SSc, 100% with MCTD, 64% with SS, 7% with inflammatory myopathy, 0.7% of CFS and diseased controls, and none of the blood donors. In conclusion, test result specific likelihood ratios and the presence of multiple autoantibodies help with the interpretation of data generated by multiplex immunoassays.