Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Quality control in diagnostic molecular pathology in the Netherlands; proficiency testing for patient identification in tissue samples
  1. F B J M Thunnissen1,
  2. M G J Tilanus2,
  3. M J L Ligtenberg3,
  4. P M Nederlof4,
  5. W N M Dinjens5,
  6. E Meulemans6,
  7. A J C Van den Brule7,
  8. C J M van Noesel8,
  9. W J F de Leeuw9,
  10. E Schuuring10,
  11. on behalf of the Dutch Pathology Molecular Diagnostic Working Groups
  1. 1Department of Pathology, Canisius Wilhelmina Hospital, 6532 SZ Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Pathology, University Medical Centre, 3508 GA Utrecht, The Netherlands
  3. 3Department of Pathology, University Medical Centre, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  4. 4Department of Pathology, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, 1066 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  5. 5Department of Pathology, Erasmus University Medical Centre, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  6. 6Department of Pathology, Maastricht University Medical Centre, 6202 AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands
  7. 7Department of Pathology, Free University Medical Centre, 1007 MB Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  8. 8Department of Pathology, Academic Medical Centre, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  9. 9Department of Pathology, Leiden University Medical Centre, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands
  10. 10Department of Pathology, Groningen University Medical Centre, 9713 EZ Groningen, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr F Thunnissen
 Canisius Wilhelmina Hospital, Weg door Jonkerbos 100, 6532 SZ Nijmegen, The Netherlands;


Aims: To describe the evolution of proficiency testing for molecular diagnostic pathology with respect to determining unambiguously the patient identity of tissue samples by microsatellite analysis.

Method: Four rounds of quality control exchanges of samples from different patients were sent with the purpose of identifying the correct origin of these samples. The samples were either paraffin wax embedded sections on glass, sections in tubes, or isolated DNA. Blinded samples were distributed to all participating laboratories. No restrictions to the method and short tandem repeat markers used for identification were imposed.

Results: In four subsequent rounds the number of participating laboratories increased from three to 10. The numbers of samples tested increased in time from five to 12. The microsatellite markers used by the different laboratories showed little overlap. In the first three rounds, in which isolated DNA was provided, all samples were accurately classified irrespective of the microsatellite markers used. In the last round, which also included paraffin wax embedded sections, a small number of laboratories experienced problems, either with amplification or incorrect classification of a few samples.

Conclusion: Proficiency testing was useful, and showed country wide high quality and correct identification of (patient) samples with molecular techniques for diagnostic purposes.

  • EQA, external quality assurance
  • PCR, polymerase chain reaction
  • STR, short tandem repeat
  • molecular pathology
  • quality control
  • proficiency testing
  • sample identification
  • microsatellite analysis

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.