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Journal of pharmaceutical and biomedical analysis

Mass spectrometry in clinical chemistry: the case of newborn screening.


PMID 24844843

Abstract

Newborn screening (NBS) program is a complex and organized system consisting of family and personnel education, biochemical tests, confirmatory biochemical and genetic tests, diagnosis, therapy, and patient follow up. The program identifies treatable metabolic disorders possibly when asymptomatic by using dried blood spot (DBS). During the last 20 years tandem mass spectrometry (TMS) has become the leading technology in NBS programs demonstrating to be versatile, sensitive and specific. There is consistent evidence of benefits from NBS for many disorders detected by TMS as well as for congenital hypothyroidism, cystic fibrosis, congenital adrenal hyperplasia by immune-enzymatic methods. Real time PCR tests have more recently been proposed for the detection of some severe combined immunodeficiences (SCID) along with the use of TMS for ADA and PNP SCID; a first evaluation of their cost-benefit ratio is still ongoing. Avoiding false negative results by using specific biomarkers and reducing the false positive rate by using second tier tests, is fundamental for a successful NBS program. The fully integration of NBS and diagnostic laboratories with clinical service is crucial to have the best effectiveness in a comprehensive NBS system.