Functional activated protein C resistance assays: correlation with factor V DNA analysis is better with RVVT-than APTT-based assays

E J Favaloro, O Mirochnik, D McDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


We compare results of factor V DNA analysis with three different clotting-based assays designed to detect activated protein C (APC) resistance (APCR), using samples from 958 patients undergoing assessment for thrombophilia. The original and most commonly used APTT-based procedure (generating an APTT ratio in presence versus absence of APC), showed the least correlation with DNA findings, with a large overlap between normals and heterozygotes. Using this procedure, over 40% of patients with a normal DNA pattern gave APTT ratio results within the heterozygotes' ratio range, and thus is a poor predictor for factor V DNA Leiden mutation (sensitivity 94.3%, specificity 47.0% [APC ratio cut-off: 3.1]; sensitivity 52.1%, specificity 92.9% [APC ratio cut-off: 2.0]). Two commercially available procedures (protein C impedance [PCI] test and protein C pathway [PCP] test), using modified Russell's viper venom time (RVVT) assays, showed less overlap between normals and heterozygotes than did the APTT-based method. Fewer than 10% of normal individuals gave PCI or PCP test ratio results that fell within the respective heterozygotes' ratio range (PCI: sensitivity 95.3%, specificity 96.0%; PCP: sensitivity 97.3%, specificity 82.4% [APC ratio cut-off: 1.6 and 1.9 respectively]). Use of previously described normalisation procedures (patient's APTT ratio over pooled normal plasma [PNP] APTT ratio) showed little improvement in discriminatory power (sensitivity 96.4%, specificity 44.8% [normalised APC ratio cut-off value: 0.97]; sensitivity 58.8%, specificity 90.1% [normalised APC ratio cut-off: 0.68]). Use of factor V-deficient plasma as sample diluent improved discrimination for all assays, but added considerable time and cost to the testing process. Furthermore, use of factor V-deficient plasma dilutions in the APTT-based test (sensitivity 97.1%, specificity 93.8% [APC ratio cut-off: 2.0]) did not substantially improve discrimination compared with either PCI or PCP performed without factor V-deficient plasma. Overall, a combination of RVVT- and APTT-based tests was found to provide excellent discrimination, particularly negative prediction, with respect to the likely factor V DNA result. Of 567 patients co-tested, all factor V DNA-normal patients (n = 299) gave both PCP-RVVT and APCR-APTT (not prediluted with factor V-deficient plasma) test ratio values > or = 2.2. In conclusion, it is important to recognise the limitation of plasma-based assays, in particular the APTT procedure, to discriminate the factor V mutation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-33
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Journal of Biomedical Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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