BACKGROUND: Control charting is routine in the quality assurance of traditional clinical laboratory testing. Genomic tests are not typically managed by control charting. We examined control charting to monitor the performance of a clinical next-generation sequencing (NGS) assay. METHODS: We retrospectively examined 3 years of control material (NA12878) data from clinical genomic epilepsy testing. Levey-Jennings plots were used to visualize changes in control material depth of sequencing coverage in genomic regions of an epilepsy genomic panel. Changes in depth of coverage were correlated with changes in the manufactured lot of capture probe reagent. Depth of coverage was also correlated between quality control material and clinical samples. RESULTS: Fifty-seven sequencing runs of NA12878 were analyzed for 1811 genomic regions targeting 108 genes. Manufactured probe lot changes were associated with significant changes in the average coverage of 537 genomic regions and the lowest coverage of 173 regions (using a critical cut-off of P < 5.52 x 10-6). Genomic regions with the highest sensitivity to lot-to-lot variation by average sequencing depth of coverage were not the same regions with the highest sensitivity by lowest sequencing depth of coverage. Levey-Jennings plots displayed differences in genomic depth of coverage across capture probe reagent lot changes. There was moderate correlation between the changes in depth of sequencing across lot changes for control material and clinical cases (r2 = 0.45). CONCLUSIONS: Genomic control charting can be used routinely by clinical laboratories to monitor assay performance and ensure the quality of testing.
- control chart
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