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False elevation of serum cortisol in chemiluminescence immunoassay by Siemens Advia Centaur XP system in 21-hydroxylase deficiency: an ‘endocrine laboma’
  1. Neeti Agrawal,
  2. Partha Pratim Chakraborty,
  3. Anirban Sinha and
  4. Animesh Maiti
  1. Endocrinology & Metabolism, Medical College and Hospital Kolkata, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
  1. Correspondence to Dr Partha Pratim Chakraborty; docparthapc{at}


Liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry, the gold standard method for cortisol measurement, is expensive and not widely available in the developing countries. Chemiluminescent immunoassay, commonly used for cortisol measurement is prone to clinically meaningful inter-assay variability in some analysers. This occurs due to non-specific nature of anticortisol antibodies used in different platforms, having cross reactivity with structurally similar cortisol precursors like 17α-hydroxyprogesterone (17OHP), 11-deoxycortisol and 21-deoxycortisol. In patients with 21-hydroxylase deficiency, where 17OHP and 21-deoxycortisol are significantly elevated, older generation machines like Siemens Advia Centaur XP provide spuriously high cortisol concentration compared with values measured by Roche Cobas e 411 or Siemens Immulite 1000. Diagnosis of potentially life-threatening salt-wasting 21-hydroxylase deficiency may be missed and treatment may be delayed due to such interference. Two children with classic 21-hydroxylase deficiency are being reported here, in whom high cortisol values were observed in Siemens Advia Centaur XP system.

  • adrenal disorders
  • paediatric intensive care
  • congenital disorders
  • neonatal and paediatric intensive care

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  • Contributors NA, PPC, AS and AM were involved in diagnosis and management of both the patients. NA and PPC did the literature search and wrote the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Parental/guardian consent obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.