Predictability of Capillary Blood Spot Toward Venous Whole Blood Sampling for Therapeutic Drug Monitoring of Tacrolimus in Solid Organ Transplant Recipients

  • Jaryd Gallant
  • Jenny Wichart
  • Tony K. L. KiangEmail author
Current Opinion


Therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) of tacrolimus in whole blood obtained from venipuncture is routinely practiced. Dried blood spotting (DBS) may act as a suitable alternative for tacrolimus TDM due to relative ease of sampling and processing. The objective of this literature review was to provide a critical evaluation on the feasibility (i.e., accuracy and precision) of DBS for predicting tacrolimus whole blood concentrations in solid organ transplant recipients. A comprehensive systematic literature search using PubMed, Scopus, EMBASE, and Google Scholar was conducted. The primary objective was to extract the bias and precision data from the identified papers. In addition, the collection, storage, and analysis protocols were also summarized. Both adult and pediatric data were included. The reported bias data (primarily based on individual concentrations) in the majority of studies were within acceptable limits (< 15%). However, the precision data were not consistently reported. The area under the concentration–time curve of tacrolimus derived from DBS appeared to be a better predictor of whole blood compared to single concentrations based on a limited number of studies. No apparent differences in prediction were observed between pediatric and adult patients. Small sample sizes and the lack of complete description of the study population were common limitations. DBS is a promising approach for tacrolimus TDM. However, in order for DBS to become a useful substitute for tacrolimus whole blood monitoring in solid organ transplant patients, further systematic studies with sufficient power and comprehensive prediction error analyses are required.


Compliance with Ethical Standards


No funding was received for the preparation of this manuscript. No editorial assistance was received for the preparation of this manuscript.

Conflicts of Interest

Jaryd Gallant, Jenny Wichart and Tony K. L. Kiang report no conflict of interest related to the publication of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaryd Gallant
    • 1
  • Jenny Wichart
    • 2
  • Tony K. L. Kiang
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmonton,Canada
  2. 2.Department of PharmacyAlberta Health ServicesCalgary,Canada
  3. 3.Katz Group Centre for Pharmacy and Health ResearchUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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