Accurate and reliable measurement of human serum free thyroxine (FT4) is critical for the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid diseases. However, concerns have been raised regarding the performance of FT4 measurements in patient care. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Clinical Standardization Programs (CDC-CSP) address these concerns by creating a FT4 standardization program to standardize FT4 measurements. The study aims to develop a highly accurate and precise candidate Reference Measurement Procedure (cRMP), as one key component of CDC-CSP, for standardization of FT4 measurements. Serum FT4 was separated from protein-bound thyroxine with equilibrium dialysis (ED) following the recommended conditions in the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute C45-A guideline and the published RMP [20,21,23]. FT4 in dialysate was directly quantified with liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) without derivatization. Gravimetric measurements of specimens and calibrator solutions, calibrator bracketing, isotope dilution, enhanced chromatographic resolution, and T4 specific mass transitions were used to ensure the accuracy, precision, and specificity of the cRMP. The described cRMP agreed well with the established RMP and two other cRMPs in an interlaboratory comparison study. The mean biases of each method to the overall laboratory mean were within ±2.5%. The intra-day, inter-day, and total imprecision for the cRMP were within 4.4%. The limit of detection was 0.90pmol/L, which was sufficiently sensitive to determine FT4 for patients with hypothyroidism. The structural analogs of T4 and endogenous components in dialysate did not interfere with the measurements. Our ED-LC-MS/MS cRMP provides high accuracy, precision, specificity, and sensitivity for FT4 measurement. The cRMP can serve as a higher-order standard for establishing measurement traceability and provide an accuracy base for the standardization of FT4 assays.

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