BACKGROUND: B-type natriuretic peptides (BNPs) are used clinically to diagnose and monitor heart failure and are present in the circulation as multiple proBNP-derived fragments. We investigated the specificity of BNP immunoassays with glycosylated and nonglycosylated BNP, N-terminal proBNP (NT-proBNP), and proBNP peptides to probe the cross-reactivity of each assay. METHODS: Nine B-type natriuretic peptides were studied, including synthetic and recombinant BNP (Shionogi, Scios, Mayo), human and synthetic glycosylated and nonglycosylated NT-proBNP (HyTest, Roche Diagnostics), and human glycosylated and nonglycosylated proBNP (HyTest, Scios). Five BNP [Abbott, Abbott POC, Alere, Beckman Coulter, Siemens (Centaur)], 9 NT-proBNP [Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, Roche, Response, bioMerieux, Siemens (Dimension, Immulite, Stratus CS), Mitsubishi] and 3 research-use-only proBNP immunoassays [Biosite (Alere), Bio-Rad, Goetze] were evaluated. Specificity was assessed by calculating the recovery between baseline and peptide-spiked human plasma pools at target concentrations of 100 ng/L BNP, 300 ng/L proBNP, or 450 ng/L NT-proBNP. All assays were performed in duplicate. RESULTS: BNP and NT-proBNP assays demonstrated substantial cross-reactivity with proBNP peptides. NTproBNP assays do not detect glycosylated forms of either NT-proBNP or proBNP. proBNP assays preferentially detect the BNP 1-32 peptide and have minimal crossreactivity with BNP peptides and glycosylated proBNP. CONCLUSIONS: BNP or NT-proBNP results are not transferable among the current existing immunoassays owing to their differences in cross-reactivity and ability to detect various glycosylated forms of proBNP-derived fragments. Opportunities remain to standardize and harmonize BNP and NT-proBNP assays, as well as to develop specific proBNP assays, to widen their clinical scope of use.