Standardization of serum creatinine is essential for accurate use of unbiased estimated GFR equations: Evidence from three cohorts matched on renal function

Hans Pottel, Etienne Cavalier, Jonas Björk, Ulf Nyman, Anders Grubb, Natalie Ebert, Elke Schaeffner, Björn O. Eriksen, Toralf Melsom, Edmund J. Lamb, Christophe Mariat, Laurence Dubourg, Magnus Hansson, Karin Littmann, Per Ola Sundin, Anna Åkesson, Anders Larsson, Andrew Rule, Pierre Delanaye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Differences in the performance of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) equations have been attributed to the mathematical form of the equations and to differences between patient demographics and measurement methods. We evaluated differences in serum creatinine (SCr) and eGFR in cohorts matched for age, sex, body mass index (BMI) and measured GFR (mGFR). Methods: White North Americans from Minnesota (n = 1093) and the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) (n = 1548) and White subjects from the European Kidney Function Consortium (EKFC) cohort (n = 7727) were matched for demographic patient characteristics (sex, age ± 3 years, BMI ± 2.5 kg/m2) and renal function (mGFR ± 3 ml/min/1.73 m2). SCr was measured with isotope dilution mass spectrometry (IDMS)-Traceable assays in the Minnesota and EKFC cohorts and with non-standardized SCr assays recalculated to IDMS in the CRIC. The Minnesota cohort and CRIC shared a common method to measure GFR (renal clearance of iothalamate), while the EKFC cohort used a variety of exogenous markers and methods, all with recognized sufficient accuracy. We compared the SCr levels and eGFR predictions [for Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration (CKD-EPI) and EKFC equations] of patients fulfilling these matching criteria. Results: For 305 matched individuals, mean SCr (mg/dL) was not different between the Minnesota and EKFC cohorts (females 0.83 ± 0.20 versus 0.86 ± 0.23, males 1.06 ± 0.23 versus 1.12 ± 0.37; P >. 05) but significantly different from the CRIC [females 1.13 ± 0.23 (P <. 0001), males 1.42 ± 0.31 (P <. 0001)]. The CKD-EPI equations performed better than the EKFC equation in the CRIC, while the opposite was true in the Minnesota and EKFC cohorts. Conclusion: Significant differences in SCr concentrations between the Minnesota and EKFC cohorts versus CRIC were observed in subjects with the same level of mGFR and equal demographic characteristics and can be explained by the difference in SCr calibration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2258-2265
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Kidney Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2022


  • serum creatinine
  • standardization
  • unbiased GFR estimation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation


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