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1.  Latent TB detection by interferon gamma release assay (IGRA) in pregnancy predicts active TB and mortality in HIV-1 infected women and their children 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2010;202(12):1826-1835.
Background
We evaluated the prognostic utility of interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs) for active tuberculosis (TB) and mortality in Kenyan HIV-1 infected women and their infants.
Methods
Prevalence and correlates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis-specific T-SPOT.TB IGRA positivity were determined during pregnancy in a historical cohort of HIV-1 infected women. Hazard ratios, adjusted for baseline maternal CD4 count (aHRCD4) were calculated for associations between IGRA positivity and risk of active TB and mortality over 2-year postpartum follow-up in women and their infants.
Results
Of 333 women tested, 52 (15.6%) had indeterminate IGRAs. Of the remaining 281 women, 120 (42.7%) had positive IGRAs, which were associated with a 4.5-fold increased risk of active TB [aHRCD4: 4.5; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.1–18.0; p=0.03]. Among immunosuppresed women (CD4<250 cell/mm3), positive IGRAs were associated with increased risk of maternal mortality (aHRCD4: 3.5; 95% CI: 1.02–12.1; p=0.045), maternal active TB or mortality (aHRCD4: 5.2; 95% CI: 1.7–15.6; p=0.004) and infant active TB or mortality, overall (aHRCD4: 3.0; 95% CI: 1.0–8.9; p= 0.05) and in HIV-1 exposed uninfected infants (aHRCD4: 7.3; 95% CI: 1.6–33.5; p =0.01).
Conclusions
Positive IGRAs in HIV-1 infected pregnant women were associated with postpartum active TB and mortality in mothers and their infants.
doi:10.1086/657411
PMCID: PMC3058232  PMID: 21067370
Latent tuberculosis infection; HIV-1; women; infants; T-SPOT.TB; IGRA
2.  Determinants of HIV-related cardiac disease among adults in north central Nigeria 
Heart Asia  2013;5(1):130-135.
Objective
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the determinants of HIV-related cardiac disease (HRCD) among adults in north central Nigeria. This was a hospital-based cross-sectional study recruiting patients who were HIV positive attending the HIV clinic at Jos University teaching Hospital, Nigeria.
Methods
A total of 200 adults who were HIV positive and aged ≥18 years were consecutively recruited. All patients were administered a questionnaire and underwent clinical examination, laboratory investigation for haemoglobin estimation, CD4 cell count, viral load, serum lipid profile, hepatitis B surface antigen, anti-hepatitis C virus antibody, electrocardiogram and two-dimensional echocardiography Doppler studies. The outcome measure was echocardiography-defined cardiac disease, such as systolic dysfunction, diastolic dysfunction, isolated left ventricular dilatation, right ventricular dysfunction or pulmonary hypertension.
Results
The mean age of the study population was 38±9 years. The majority (71%) were women and were on average younger than the men (36±8 years vs 47±9 years, p<0.0002). Highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) use was seen in 84.4% of subjects. The median CD4 cell count for the study population was 358 cells/µL; the count was 459 (95% CI 321 to 550) cells/µL for subjects without HRCD and 193 (95% CI 126 to 357) cells/µL for subjects with HRCD (p<0.001). HAART-naive subjects with HRCD had a mean CD4 cell count of 121 cells/µL vs 200 cells/µL for those on HAART (p<0.01). CD4 cell count (OR = 0.25, 95% CI 0.15 to 0.45) and duration of diagnosis (OR=3.88, 95% CI 1.20 to 13.71) were the significant determinants of HRCD on multivariate analysis.
Conclusions
Duration of HIV diagnosis and degree of immunosuppression were the significant determinants of HRCD. There is therefore a need to reduce cardiovascular morbidity in patients infected with HIV through early diagnosis/sustained use of HAART, early screening for HRCD and prompt intervention.
doi:10.1136/heartasia-2013-010284
PMCID: PMC4832646  PMID: 27326107
3.  Comparison of two interferon-gamma release assays (QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube and T-SPOT.TB) in testing for latent tuberculosis infection among HIV-infected adults 
International Journal of STD & AIDS  2013;24(10):775-779.
There is currently no ‘gold standard’ for diagnosis of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI), and both the tuberculin skin test and interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs) are used for diagnosis; the latter have a higher sensitivity than tuberculin skin tests for diagnosis of LTBI in HIV-infected individuals with lower CD4 counts. No evidence base exists for selection of IGRA methodology to identify LTBI among human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients in the UK. We prospectively evaluated two commercially available IGRA methods (QuantiFERON-TB Gold In Tube [QFG] and T-SPOT.TB) for testing LTBI among HIV-infected patients potentially nosocomially exposed to an HIV-infected patient with ‘smear-positive’ pulmonary tuberculosis. Among the exposed patients median CD4 count was 550 cells/µL; 105 (90%) of 117 were receiving antiretroviral therapy, of who 104 (99%) had an undetectable plasma HIV load. IGRAs were positive in 12 patients (10.3%); QFG positive in 11 (9.4%) and T-SPOT.TB positive in six (5.1%); both IGRAs were positive in five patients (4.3%). There was one indeterminate QFG and one borderline T-SPOT.TB result. Concordance between the two IGRAs was moderate (κ = 0.56, 95% confidence interval = 0.27–0.85). IGRAs were positive in only 4 (29%) of 14 patients with previous culture-proven tuberculosis. No patient developed tuberculosis during 20 months of follow-up.
doi:10.1177/0956462413486459
PMCID: PMC4107858  PMID: 23970606
Interferon-gamma release assays; latent tuberculosis infection; HIV; screening; tuberculin skin test; AIDS; IGRA; Mycobacterium tuberculosis
4.  Interferon-γ Release Assays for the Diagnosis of Tuberculosis and Tuberculosis Infection in HIV-Infected Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e32482.
Background
Despite the widespread use of interferon-γ release assays (IGRAs), their role in diagnosing tuberculosis and targeting preventive therapy in HIV-infected patients remains unclear. We conducted a comprehensive systematic review to contribute to the evidence-based practice in HIV-infected people.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We searched MEDLINE, Cochrane, and Biomedicine databases to identify articles published between January 2005 and July 2011 that assessed QuantiFERON®-TB Gold In-Tube (QFT-GIT) and T-SPOT®.TB (T-SPOT.TB) in HIV-infected adults. We assessed their accuracy for the diagnosis of tuberculosis and incident active tuberculosis, and the proportion of indeterminate results. The search identified 38 evaluable studies covering a total of 6514 HIV-infected participants. The pooled sensitivity and specificity for tuberculosis were 61% and 72% for QFT-GIT, and 65% and 70% for T-SPOT.TB. The cumulative incidence of subsequent active tuberculosis was 8.3% for QFT-GIT and 10% for T-SPOT.TB in patients tested positive (one study each), and 0% for QFT-GIT (two studies) and T-SPOT.TB (one study) respectively in those tested negative. Pooled indeterminate rates were 8.2% for QFT-GIT and 5.9% for T-SPOT.TB. Rates were higher in high burden settings (12.0% for QFT-GIT and 7.7% for T-SPOT.TB) than in low-intermediate burden settings (3.9% for QFT-GIT and 4.3% for T-SPOT.TB). They were also higher in patients with CD4+ T-cell count <200 (11.6% for QFT-GIT and 11.4% for T-SPOT.TB) than in those with CD4+ T-cell count ≥200 (3.1% for QFT-GIT and 7.9% for T-SPOT.TB).
Conclusions/Significance
IGRAs have suboptimal accuracy for confirming or ruling out active tuberculosis disease in HIV-infected adults. While their predictive value for incident active tuberculosis is modest, a negative QFT-GIT implies a very low short- to medium-term risk. Identifying the factors associated with indeterminate results will help to optimize the use of IGRAs in clinical practice, particularly in resource-limited countries with a high prevalence of HIV-coinfection.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032482
PMCID: PMC3293815  PMID: 22403663
5.  Improved sensitivity of an interferon-gamma release assay (T-SPOT.TB™) in combination with tuberculin skin test for the diagnosis of latent tuberculosis in the presence of HIV co-Infection 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2011;11:319.
Background
Interferon-gamma release assays (IGRA) are more specific than the tuberculin skin test (TST) for the diagnosis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. Data on sensitivity are controversial in HIV infection.
Methods
IGRA (T-SPOT.TB) was performed using lymphocytes stored within 6 months before culture-confirmed tuberculosis was diagnosed in HIV-infected individuals in the Swiss HIV Cohort Study.
Results
64 individuals (69% males, 45% of non-white ethnicity, median age 35 years (interquartile range [IQR] 31-42), 28% with prior AIDS) were analysed. Median CD4 cell count was 223 cells/μl (IQR 103-339), HIV-RNA was 4.7 log10 copies/mL (IQR 4.3-5.2). T-SPOT.TB resulted positive in 25 patients (39%), negative in 18 (28%) and indeterminate in 21 (33%), corresponding to a sensitivity of 39% (95% CI 27-51%) if all test results were considered, and 58% (95% CI 43-74%) if indeterminate results were excluded. Sensitivity of IGRA was independent of CD4 cell count (p = 0.698). Among 44 individuals with available TST, 22 (50%) had a positive TST. Agreement between TST and IGRA was 57% (kappa = 0.14, p = 0.177), and in 34% (10/29) both tests were positive. Combining TST and IGRA (at least one test positive) resulted in an improved sensitivity of 67% (95% CI 52-81%). In multivariate analysis, older age was associated with negative results of TST and T-SPOT.TB (OR 3.07, 95% CI 1,22-7.74, p = 0.017, per 10 years older).
Conclusions
T-SPOT.TB and TST have similar sensitivity to detect latent TB in HIV-infected individuals. Combining TST and IGRA may help clinicians to better select HIV-infected individuals with latent tuberculosis who qualify for preventive treatment.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-11-319
PMCID: PMC3226666  PMID: 22085801
6.  Predictive value of interferon-γ release assays for incident active tuberculosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis 
The Lancet infectious diseases  2011;12(1):45-55.
Summary
Background
We aimed to assess whether interferon-γ release assays (IGRAs) can predict the development of active tuberculosis and whether the predictive ability of these tests is better than that of the tuberculin skin test (TST).
Methods
Longitudinal studies of the predictive value for active tuberculosis of in-house or commercial IGRAs were identified through searches of PubMed, Embase, Biosis, and Web of Science and complementary manual searches up to June 30, 2011. Eligible studies included adults or children, with or without HIV, who were free of active tuberculosis at study baseline. We summarised incidence rates in forest plots and pooled data with random-effects models when appropriate. We calculated incidence rate ratios (IRR) for rates of disease progression in IGRA-positive versus IGRA-negative individuals.
Findings
15 studies had a combined sample size of 26 680 participants. Incidence of tuberculosis during a median follow-up of 4 years (IQR 2–6), even in IGRA-positive individuals, was 4–48 cases per 1000 person-years. Seven studies with no possibility of incorporation bias and reporting baseline stratification on the basis of IGRA results showed a moderate association between positive results and subsequent tuberculosis (pooled unadjusted IRR 2·10, 95% CI 1·42–3·08). Compared with test-negative results, IGRA-positive and TST-positive results were much the same with regard to the risk of tuberculosis (pooled IRR in the five studies that used both was 2·11 [95% CI 1·29–3·46] for IGRA vs 1·60 [0·94–2·72] for TST at the 10 mm cutoff). However, the proportion of IGRA-positive individuals in seven of 11 studies that assessed both IGRAs and TST was generally lower than TST-positive individuals.
Interpretation
Neither IGRAs nor the TST have high accuracy for the prediction of active tuberculosis, although use of IGRAs in some populations might reduce the number of people considered for preventive treatment. Until more predictive biomarkers are identified, existing tests for latent tuberculosis infection should be chosen on the basis of relative specificity in different populations, logistics, cost, and patients’ preferences rather than on predictive ability alone.
Funding
Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (WHO), Wellcome Trust, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, UK Medical Research Council, and the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership.
doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(11)70210-9
PMCID: PMC3568693  PMID: 21846592
7.  Comparing Interferon-Gamma Release Assays to Tuberculin Skin Test in Thai Children with Tuberculosis Exposure 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e105003.
Background
Data on the performance of interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs), QuantiFERON TB Gold In-tube (QFNGIT) and T-Spot.TB, in diagnosing tuberculosis (TB) are limited in Southeast Asia. This study aims to compare the performances of the two IGRAs and TST in Thai children with recent TB exposure.
Methods
This multicenter, prospective study enrolled children with recent exposure to active TB adults. Children were investigated for active TB. TST was performed and blood collected for T-Spot.TB and QFNGIT.
Results
158 children were enrolled (87% TB-exposed and 13% active TB, mean age 7.2 years). Only 3 children had HIV infection. 66.7% had TST≥10 mm, while 38.6% had TST≥15 mm. 32.5% had positive QFNGIT; 29.9% had positive T-Spot.TB. QFNGIT and T-Spot.TB positivity was higher among children with active TB compared with TB-exposed children. No indeterminate IGRA results were detected. No statistically significant differences between the performances of the IGRAs and TST at the two cut-offs with increasing TB exposure were detected. Concordance for positive IGRAs and TST ranged from 42–46% for TST≥10 mm and 62–67% for TST≥15 mm. On multivariable analyses, exposure to household primary/secondary caregiver with TB was associated with positive QFNGIT. Higher TB contact score and active TB were associated with positive T-Spot.TB.
Conclusions
Both QFNGIT and T-Spot.TB performed well in our Thai pediatric study population. No differences in the performances between tests with increasing TB exposure were found. Due to accessibility and low cost, using TST may more ideal than IGRAs in diagnosing latent and active TB in healthy children in Thailand and other similar settings.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0105003
PMCID: PMC4133381  PMID: 25121513
8.  Role of interferon-gamma release assays in the diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis in patients with advanced HIV infection 
Background
T-cell interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs) may have a role in the diagnosis of active tuberculosis when evaluating patients for whom standard microbiology has limited sensitivity. Our objective was to examine the accuracy of a commercial IGRA for diagnosis of active tuberculosis in HIV-infected persons.
Methods
We enrolled HIV-infected patients admitted to Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda with cough ≥ 2 weeks. All patients underwent standard medical evaluation. We collected peripheral blood specimens at enrollment and performed a commercial, ELISPOT-based IGRA according to the manufacturer's recommendations. IGRA sensitivity and specificity were determined using mycobacterial culture results as the reference standard.
Results
Overall, 236 patients were enrolled. The median CD4+ T-lymphocyte count was 49 cells/μl and 126 (53%) patients were diagnosed with active pulmonary tuberculosis. IGRAs were not performed in 24 (10%) patients due to insufficient mononuclear cell counts. In the remaining 212 patients, results were indeterminate in 54 (25%). IGRAs were positive in 95 of 158 (60%) patients with interpretable results. The proportion of positive test results was similar across CD4+ count strata. IGRA sensitivity was 73% and specificity 54%. IGRA results did not meaningfully alter the probability of active tuberculosis in patients with negative sputum smears.
Conclusions
An ELISPOT-based IGRA detected a high prevalence of latent tuberculosis infection in a hospitalized population of tuberculosis suspects with advanced HIV/AIDS but had limited utility for diagnosis of active tuberculosis in a high prevalence setting. Further research is needed to identify stronger and more specific immune responses in patients with active tuberculosis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-75
PMCID: PMC2846947  PMID: 20302657
9.  Tuberculosis progression rates in U.S. Immigrants following screening with interferon-gamma release assays 
BMC Public Health  2016;16(1):875.
Background
Interferon-gamma release assays may be used as an alternative to the tuberculin skin test for detection of M. tuberculosis infection. However, the risk of active tuberculosis disease following screening using interferon-gamma release assays in immigrants is not well defined. To address these uncertainties, we determined the incidence rates of active tuberculosis disease in a cohort of high-risk immigrants with Class B TB screened with interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs) upon arrival in the United States.
Methods
Using a retrospective cohort design, we enrolled recent U.S. immigrants with Class B TB who were screened with an IGRA (QuantiFERON ® Gold or Gold In-Tube Assay) at the San Francisco Department of Public Health Tuberculosis Control Clinic from January 2005 through December 2010. We reviewed records from the Tuberculosis Control Patient Management Database and from the California Department of Public Health Tuberculosis Case Registry to determine incident cases of active tuberculosis disease through February 2015.
Results
Of 1233 eligible immigrants with IGRA screening at baseline, 81 (6.6 %) were diagnosed with active tuberculosis disease as a result of their initial evaluation. Of the remaining 1152 participants without active tuberculosis disease at baseline, 513 tested IGRA-positive and 639 tested IGRA-negative. Seven participants developed incident active tuberculosis disease over 7730 person-years of follow-up, for an incidence rate of 91 per 100,000 person-years (95 % CI 43–190). Five IGRA-positive and two IGRA-negative participants developed active tuberculosis disease (incidence rates 139 per 100,000 person-years (95 % CI 58–335) and 48 per 100,000 person-years (95 % CI 12–193), respectively) for an unadjusted incidence rate ratio of 2.9 (95 % CI 0.5–30, p = 0.21). IGRA test results had a negative predictive value of 99.7 % but a positive predictive value of only 0.97 %.
Conclusions
Among high-risk immigrants without active tuberculosis disease at the time of entry into the United States, risk of progression to active tuberculosis disease was higher in IGRA-positive participants compared with IGRA-negative participants. However, these findings did not reach statistical significance, and a positive IGRA at enrollment had a poor predictive value for progressing to active tuberculosis disease. Additional research is needed to identify biomarkers and develop clinical algorithms that can better predict progression to active tuberculosis disease among U.S. immigrants.
doi:10.1186/s12889-016-3519-6
PMCID: PMC4997768  PMID: 27558397
Interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA); Tuberculosis (TB); Latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI); Active tuberculosis disease; Foreign-born; Immigrant; Incidence rate; Chest x-ray (CXR); Preventive chemotherapy
10.  Predictive Value of Interferon-gamma Release Assays for Postpartum Active Tuberculosis in HIV-1 Infected Women 
Background
There are limited data on prognostic utility of interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) release assays (IGRAs) for active tuberculosis (TB) among HIV-1 infected individuals.
Methods
Samples from a perinatal cohort of HIV-1 infected women in Kenya, obtained during pregnancy were tested using T-SPOT.TB IGRAs to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB)-specific IFN-γ responses. IFN-γ (cut-off values>0, ≥6 and ≥10 spot forming cells/well (SFCs/well)) and CD4 cell count (cut-off values<250 and <350 cells/μL) were evaluated for sensitivity and specificity using a time dependent receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve and positive predictive value (PPV) using Kaplan Meier method for future TB within one year postpartum.
Results
Of 327 women, 9 developed TB within one year postpartum (Incidence rate (IR): 3.5/100 person-years of follow-up (pyfu); 95% confidence interval: 1.6–6.7/100 pyfu). IFN-γ≥6 SFCs/well was associated with an optimal trade-off between sensitivity (78%) and specificity (55%) and PPV of 5.9%. In women with CD4<250 cells/μL, sensitivity and specificity of IFN-γ≥6 SFCs/well were 89% and 63%, respectively and PPV was 19.2%.
Conclusion
Among HIV-1 infected women, IFN-γ response (≥6 SFCs/well) during pregnancy lacked high positive predictive value for postpartum TB but had higher sensitivity and positive predictive value among immunosuppressed women (CD4<250 cells/μL).
doi:10.5588/ijtld.13.0239
PMCID: PMC4339676  PMID: 24200267
TB IGRA; Predictive value; Sensitivity; Specificity; HIV-infected women
11.  Risk Factors Associated with Indeterminate Gamma Interferon Responses in the Assessment of Latent Tuberculosis Infection in a High-Incidence Environment 
The performance of gamma interferon (IFN-γ) release assays (IGRA) in the detection of latent tuberculosis (TB) infection is limited by the higher rates of indeterminate results in HIV-infected persons, who bear the brunt of TB disease in some high-burden settings. The objective of the study was to evaluate predictors of indeterminate IGRA results in the overall study population and in HIV-infected persons. The study setting is Khayelitsha, an informal township in the Western Cape of South Africa, with a high burden of TB and HIV infection. A total of 561 asymptomatic persons were recruited from the day hospital and youth centers. A questionnaire was used to collect demographic information, and blood tests, including CD4 counting and a 7-day in-house IGRA, were performed. The overall prevalence of indeterminate IGRA results was 8.6% (48/561), and this was higher in HIV-infected than in HIV-uninfected persons (11.5% [38/330] versus 4.3% [10/231], respectively; P = 0.003). In the overall study population, predictors of indeterminate IGRA results were the presence of HIV infection (odds ratio [OR], 2.36; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.10 to 5.08) and the presence of a Mycobacterium bovis BCG scar (OR, 2.48; 95% CI, 1.23 to 5.01). Long-term township residents were significantly less likely to have indeterminate results than recent migrants (OR, 0.30; 95% CI, 0.11 to 0.80). Among HIV-infected persons, participants with CD4 counts of >200 cells/mm3 and long-term residents were significantly less likely to have indeterminate IGRA results (OR of 0.21 with a 95% CI of 0.09 to 0.48 and OR of 0.22 with a 95% CI of 0.07 to 0.68, respectively). We evaluated risk factors for indeterminate IGRA results and report a higher rate of indeterminate results among HIV-infected persons, particularly those with lower CD4 counts. Of note, a recent move to the township was associated with a higher risk of indeterminate IGRA results.
doi:10.1128/CVI.00166-12
PMCID: PMC3416070  PMID: 22718129
12.  Contribution of a heparin-binding haemagglutinin interferon-gamma release assay to the detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in HIV-infected patients: comparison with the tuberculin skin test and the QuantiFERON®-TB Gold In-tube 
Background
The screening and treatment of latent tuberculosis (TB) infection reduces the risk of progression to active disease and is currently recommended for HIV-infected patients. The aim of this study is to evaluate, in a low TB incidence setting, the potential contribution of an interferon-gamma release assay in response to the mycobacterial latency antigen Heparin-Binding Haemagglutinin (HBHA-IGRA), to the detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in HIV-infected patients.
Methods
Treatment-naïve HIV-infected adults were recruited from 4 Brussels-based hospitals. Subjects underwent screening for latent TB using the HBHA-IGRA in parallel to a classical method consisting of medical history, chest X-ray, tuberculin skin test (TST) and QuantiFERON®-TB Gold In-Tube (QFT-GIT). Prospective clinical and biological follow-up ensued, with repeated testing with HBHA-IGRA. A group of HIV-infected patients with clinical suspicion of active TB was also recruited and tested with the HBHA-IGRA. Multiplex analysis was performed on the culture supernatants of this in-house assay to identify test read-outs alternative to interferon-gamma that could increase the sensitivity of the test.
Results
Among 48 candidates enrolled for screening, 9 were identified with latent TB by TST and/or QFT-GIT results. Four of these 9 patients and an additional 3 screened positive with the HBHA-IGRA. This in-house assay identified all the patients that were positive for the TST and showed the best concordance with the presence of a M. tuberculosis exposure risk. During follow-up (median 14 months) no case of active TB was reported and HBHA-IGRA results remained globally constant. Fourteen HIV-infected patients with clinical suspicion of active TB were recruited. Active TB was confirmed for 6 of them among which 3 were HBHA-IGRA positive, each with very high interferon-gamma concentrations. All patients for whom active TB was finally excluded, including 2 non-tubercular mycobacterial infections, had negative HBHA-IGRA results. Multiplex analysis confirmed interferon-gamma as the best read-out.
Conclusions
The HBHA-IGRA appears complementary to the QuantiFERON®-TB Gold In-Tube for the screening of latent TB in HIV-infected patients. Large-scale studies are necessary to determine whether this combination offers sufficient sensitivity to dismiss TST, as suggested by our results. Furthermore, HBHA-IGRA may help in the diagnosis work-up of clinical suspicions of active TB.
doi:10.1186/s12879-015-0796-0
PMCID: PMC4337251  PMID: 25886172
Active tuberculosis; Heparin-binding haemagglutinin; Human; Human immunodeficiency virus; Interferon-gamma release assay; Latent tuberculosis; Multiplex; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; QuantiFERON®-TB Gold In-Tube; Tuberculin skin test
13.  Comparison of Two Gamma Interferon Release Assays and Tuberculin Skin Testing for Tuberculosis Screening in a Cohort of Patients with Rheumatic Diseases Starting Anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor Therapy ▿ 
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology : CVI  2011;18(12):2102-2108.
Gamma interferon release assays (IGRAs) are increasingly used for latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection (LTBI) screening in patients with rheumatic diseases starting anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) therapies. We compared the performances of two IGRAs, an enzyme-linked immunospot release assay (T-SPOT.TB) and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (QuantiFERON-TB Gold In Tube [QFT-GIT]), to that of tuberculin skin testing (TST) for LTBI screening of 157 consecutive rheumatic patients starting anti-TNF therapies. Among 155 patients with valid results, 58 (37%) were positive by TST, 39 (25%) by T-SPOT.TB assay, and 32 (21%) by QFT-GIT assay. IGRAs were associated more strongly with at least one risk factor for tuberculosis (TB) than TST. Risk factors for a positive assay included chest X-ray findings of old TB (TST), advanced age (both IGRAs), origin from a country with a high TB prevalence, and a positive TST (T-SPOT.TB assay). Steroid use was negatively associated with a positive QFT-GIT assay. The agreement rate between IGRAs was 81% (kappa rate = 0.47), which was much higher than that observed between an IGRA and TST. If positivity by either TST or an IGRA was required for LTBI diagnosis, then the rate of LTBI would have been 46 to 47%, while if an IGRA was performed only for TST-positive patients, the respective rate would have been 11 to 17%. In conclusion, IGRAs appear to correlate better with TB risk than TST and should be included in TB screening of patients starting anti-TNF therapies. In view of the high risk of TB in these patients, a combination of one IGRA and TST is probably more appropriate for LTBI diagnosis.
doi:10.1128/CVI.05299-11
PMCID: PMC3232699  PMID: 21994356
14.  Diagnosing Latent Tuberculosis Infection in the HIV Era 
Tuberculin skin testing (TST) and Interferon-gamma (IFNγ)release assays (IGRAs) are presently the only available assays for the detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infected individuals. IGRAs might progressively replace TST, as numerous published reports establish their higher specificity and similar sensitivity when tested in BCG vaccinated, immunocompetent individuals or in populations who may have been in contact with atypical mycobacteria. However, few published reports have commented on their role in TB diagnosis in immunocompromised individuals (HIV, immunosuppressive therapy, cancer…). It is the purpose of this report to review IGRAs published studies in HIV individuals in endemic and non endemic area for tuberculosis (TB). IGRAs were tested in the presence or absence of active TB but correlated to duration of exposure. In newly diagnosed active TB, IGRAs demonstrated a similar sensitivity to TST. In TB non infected individuals, TST and IGRAs also gave similar values when categorization of individuals was correlated to the risk of infection. A higher number of positive IGRAs was observed in individuals from TB endemic areas, in similar proportions to immunocompetent individuals. Comparison between the two IGRAs: QuantiFERON-TB Gold® (QF-TB, Cellestis, Australia) and T-SPOT-TB® (Oxford Immunotec, UK), and against TST, in the same HIV population demonstrates a higher sensitivity of T-SPOT-TB and TST than QF-TB. Indeterminate results, which correspond to the absence of a positive T-cell IFNγ response towards phytohemaglutinin (PHA), is a key point when comparing both IGRAs. This PHA control is indicative of the level of immunosuppression observed in the tested individual. QF-TB seems to present, in HIV populations, more indeterminate results than T-SPOT-TB. The calibration and/or concentration of PBMC on nitrocellulose membrane for the T-SPOT-TB, as compared to a whole blood assay, might explain this difference, with less indeterminate results with the T-SPOT-TB assay. Neither assay is able to differentiate active TB from latent TB infection (LTBI). Several laboratories have tried new antigenic epitopes to solve this issue. It is of importance that these studies need to be repeated on a larger scale by others to validate their results. Two blood assays might add information characterising the evolution from LTBI to active TB: either by losing protective immunity, as demonstrated by the whole blood killing assay, or by evaluating the kinetics of the antibodies synthesized against M. tuberculosis specific antigens. In conclusion, longitudinal studies are still needed to validate IGRAs and other assays and to define their respective predictive values.
doi:10.2174/1874306400802010052
PMCID: PMC2606646  PMID: 19343092
Tuberculin skin test; Interferon-gamma release assays; HIV-infected; latent tuberculosis infection; active tuberculosis; whole-blood killing assay; ELISA; antibody; PGL-Tb1.
15.  Different screening strategies (single or dual) for the diagnosis of suspected latent tuberculosis: a cost effectiveness analysis 
Background
Previous health economic studies recommend either a dual screening strategy [tuberculin skin test (TST) followed by interferon-γ-release assay (IGRA)] or a single one [IGRA only] for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI), the former largely based on claims that it is more cost-effective. We sought to examine that conclusion through the use of a model that accounts for the additional costs of adverse drug reactions and directly compares two commercially available versions of the IGRA: the Quantiferon-TB-Gold-In-Tube (QFT-GIT) and T-SPOT.TB.
Methods
A LTBI screening model directed at screening contacts was used to perform a cost-effectiveness analysis, from a UK healthcare perspective, taking into account the risk of isoniazid-related hepatotoxicity and post-exposure TB (2 years post contact) using the TST, QFT-GIT and T-SPOT.TB IGRAs.
Results
Examining costs alone, the TST/IGRA dual screening strategies (TST/T-SPOT.TB and TST/QFT-GIT; £162,387 and £157,048 per 1000 contacts, respectively) cost less than their single strategy counterparts (T-SPOT.TB and QFT-GIT; £203,983 and £202,921 per 1000 contacts) which have higher IGRA test costs and greater numbers of persons undergoing LTBI treatment. However, IGRA alone strategies direct healthcare interventions and costs more accurately to those that are truly infected.
Subsequently, less contacts need to be treated to prevent an active case of TB (T-SPOT.TB and QFT-GIT; 61.7 and 69.7 contacts) in IGRA alone strategies. IGRA single strategies also prevent more cases of post-exposure TB. However, this greater effectiveness does not outweigh the lower incremental costs associated with the dual strategies. Consequently, when these costs are combined with effectiveness, the IGRA dual strategies are more cost-effective than their single strategy counterparts. Comparing between the IGRAs, T-SPOT.TB-based strategies (single and dual; £39,712 and £37,206 per active TB case prevented, respectively) were more cost-effective than the QFT-GIT-based strategies (single and dual; £42,051 and £37,699 per active TB case prevented, respectively). Using the TST alone was the least cost-effective (£47,840 per active TB case prevented). Cost effectiveness values were sensitive to changes in LTBI prevalence, IGRA test sensitivities/specificities and IGRA test costs.
Conclusion
A dual strategy is more cost effective than a single strategy but this conclusion is sensitive to screening test assumptions and LTBI prevalence.
doi:10.1186/1471-2466-10-7
PMCID: PMC2837635  PMID: 20170555
16.  Consistency of Mycobacterium tuberculosis-Specific Interferon-Gamma Responses in HIV-1-Infected Women during Pregnancy and Postpartum 
Background. We determined the consistency of positive interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) release assays (IGRAs) to detect latent TB infection (LTBI) over one-year postpartum in HIV-1-infected women. Methods. Women with positive IGRAs during pregnancy had four 3-monthly postpartum IGRAs. Postpartum change in magnitude of IFN-γ response was determined using linear mixed models. Results. Among 18 women with positive pregnancy IGRA, 15 (83%) had a subsequent positive IGRA; 9 (50%) were always positive, 3 (17%) were always negative, and 6 (33%) fluctuated between positive and negative IGRAs. Women with pregnancy IGRA IFN-γ>8 spot forming cells (SFCs)/well were more likely to have consistent postpartum IGRA response (odds ratio: 10.0; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.9–117.0). Change in IFN-γ response over postpartum was 10.2 SFCs/well (95% CI: −1.5–21.8 SFCs/well). Conclusion. Pregnancy positive IGRAs were often maintained postpartum with increased consistency in women with higher baseline responses. There were modest increases in magnitude of IGRA responses postpartum.
doi:10.1155/2012/950650
PMCID: PMC3312220  PMID: 22496602
17.  Feasibility, acceptability, and cost of tuberculosis testing by whole-blood interferon-gamma assay 
Background
The whole-blood interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA) is recommended in some settings as an alternative to the tuberculin skin test (TST). Outcomes from field implementation of the IGRA for routine tuberculosis (TB) testing have not been reported. We evaluated feasibility, acceptability, and costs after 1.5 years of IGRA use in San Francisco under routine program conditions.
Methods
Patients seen at six community clinics serving homeless, immigrant, or injection-drug user (IDU) populations were routinely offered IGRA (Quantiferon-TB). Per guidelines, we excluded patients who were <17 years old, HIV-infected, immunocompromised, or pregnant. We reviewed medical records for IGRA results and completion of medical evaluation for TB, and at two clinics reviewed TB screening logs for instances of IGRA refusal or phlebotomy failure.
Results
Between November 1, 2003 and February 28, 2005, 4143 persons were evaluated by IGRA. 225(5%) specimens were not tested, and 89 (2%) were IGRA-indeterminate. Positive or negative IGRA results were available for 3829 (92%). Of 819 patients with positive IGRA results, 524 (64%) completed diagnostic evaluation within 30 days of their IGRA test date. Among 503 patients eligible for IGRA testing at two clinics, phlebotomy was refused by 33 (7%) and failed in 40 (8%). Including phlebotomy, laboratory, and personnel costs, IGRA use cost $33.67 per patient tested.
Conclusion
IGRA implementation in a routine TB control program setting was feasible and acceptable among homeless, IDU, and immigrant patients in San Francisco, with results more frequently available than the historically described performance of TST. Laboratory-based diagnosis and surveillance for M. tuberculosis infection is now possible.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-47
PMCID: PMC1434750  PMID: 16539718
18.  The Significance of Sensitive Interferon Gamma Release Assays for Diagnosis of Latent Tuberculosis Infection in Patients Receiving Tumor Necrosis Factor-α Antagonist Therapy 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(10):e0141033.
Objective
We compared two interferon gamma release assays (IGRAs), QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube (QFT-GIT) and T-SPOT.TB, for diagnosis of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) in patients before and while receiving tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α antagonist therapy. This study evaluated the significance of sensitive IGRAs for LTBI screening and monitoring.
Methods
Before starting TNF-α antagonist therapy, 156 consecutive patients with rheumatic diseases were screened for LTBI using QFT-GIT and T-SPOT.TB tests. According to our study protocol, QFT-GIT-positive patients received LTBI treatment. Patients positive by any IGRAs were subjected to follow-up IGRA tests after completing LTBI-treatment and/or during TNF-α antagonist therapy.
Results
At the initial LTBI screening, 45 (28.9%) and 70 (44.9%) patients were positive by QFT-GIT and T-SPOT.TB, respectively. The agreement rate between IGRA results was 78.8% (k = 0.56; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] = 0.43 to 0.68). Of 29 patients who were positive only by T-SPOT.TB in the initial screening, 83% (19/23) were persistently positive by T-SPOT.TB, while QFT-GIT testing showed that 36% (9/25) had conversion during TNF-α antagonist therapy. By the end of the follow-up period (218 to 1,264 days), four patients (4/137, 2.9%) developed active tuberculosis (TB) diseases during receiving TNF-α antagonist therapy. Among them, one was Q-T+, one was Q+T-, and the remaining two were Q-T- at the initial screening (Q, QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube; T, T-SPOT.TB; +, positive; -, negative). Two (2/4, 50%) patients with TB reactivation had at least one prior risk factor consistent with previous TB infection.
Conclusion
This study demonstrated the need to capitalize on sensitive IGRAs to monitor for LTBI in at-risk patients for a more sensitive diagnosis in countries with an intermediate TB burden.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0141033
PMCID: PMC4608840  PMID: 26474294
19.  Bronchoalveolar Lavage Enzyme-Linked Immunospot for Diagnosis of Smear-Negative Tuberculosis in HIV-Infected Patients 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39838.
Background
Peripheral blood interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs) have sub-optimal sensitivity and specificity for diagnosis of active pulmonary tuberculosis (TB). However, assessment of local immune responses has been reported to improve the accuracy of TB diagnosis.
Methods
We enrolled HIV-infected adults with cough ≥2 weeks’ duration admitted to Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda and referred for bronchoscopy following two negative sputum acid-fast bacillus smears. We performed an ELISPOT-based IGRA (T-SPOT.TB®, Oxford Immunotec, Oxford, UK) using peripheral blood and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid mononuclear cells, and determined the accuracy of IGRAs using mycobacterial culture results as a reference standard.
Results
94 HIV-infected patients with paired peripheral blood and BAL IGRA results were included. The study population was young (median age 34 years [IQR 28–40 years]) and had advanced HIV/AIDS (median CD4+ T-lymphocyte count 60 cells/µl [IQR 22–200 cells/µl]). The proportion of indeterminate IGRA results was higher in BAL fluid than in peripheral blood specimens (34% vs. 14%, difference 20%, 95% CI 7–33%, p = 0.002). BAL IGRA had moderate sensitivity (73%, 95% CI 50–89%) but poor specificity (48%, 95% CI 32–64%) for TB diagnosis. Sensitivity was similar (75%, 95% CI 57–89%) and specificity was higher (78%, 95% CI 63–88%) when IGRA was performed on peripheral blood.
Conclusions
BAL IGRA performed poorly for the diagnosis of smear-negative TB in a high HIV/TB burden setting. Further studies are needed to examine reasons for the large proportion of indeterminate results and low specificity of BAL IGRA for active TB in high HIV/TB burden settings.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039838
PMCID: PMC3383728  PMID: 22745833
20.  Risk of Active Tuberculosis in HIV-Infected Patients in Taiwan with Free Access to HIV Care and a Positive T-Spot.TB Test 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0125260.
Background
Interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs) have been used to identify individuals at risk for developing active tuberculosis (TB). However, data regarding the risk of TB development in HIV-infected patients testing positive for IGRAs remain sparse in the era of combination antiretroviral therapy.
Methods
Between 2011 and 2013, 608 HIV-infected patients without active TB undergoing T-Spot.TB testing were enrolled in this prospective observational study at a university hospital designated for HIV care in Taiwan with a declining TB incidence from 72 per 100,000 population in 2005 to 53 per 100,000 population in 2012. All of the subjects were followed until September 30, 2014. The national TB registry was accessed to identify any TB cases among those lost to follow-up.
Results
T-Spot.TB tested negative in 534 patients (87.8%), positive in 64 patients (10.5%), and indeterminate in 10 patients (1.6%). In multivariate analysis, positive T-Spot.TB was significantly associated with older age (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.172 per 10-year increase; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.022-1.344, P=0.023), past history of TB (AOR, 13.412; 95% CI, 6.106-29.460, P<0.001), and higher CD4 counts at enrollment (AOR, per 50-cell/μl increase, 1.062; 95% CI, 1.017-1.109, P=0.007). Of the 64 patients testing positive for T-Spot.TB, none received isoniazid preventive therapy and all but 5 received combination antiretroviral therapy at the end of follow-up with the latest CD4 count and plasma HIV RNA load being 592.8 cells/μL and 1.85 log10 copies/mL, respectively. One patient (1.6%) developed active TB after 167 person-years of follow-up (PYFU), resulting in an incidence rate of 0.599 per 100 PFYU. None of the 534 patients testing negative for T-Spot.TB developed TB after 1380 PYFU, nor did the 24 patients with old TB and positive T-Spot.TB tests develop TB after 62.33 PYFU.
Conclusions
The risk of developing active TB in HIV-infected patients with positive T-Spot.TB receiving combination antiretroviral therapy is low in Taiwan where the national TB program has led to a sustained decrease in TB incidence.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0125260
PMCID: PMC4418700  PMID: 25938227
21.  Contribution of Interferon gamma release assays testing to the diagnosis of latent tuberculosis infection in HIV-infected patients: A comparison of QuantiFERON-TB Gold In Tube, T-SPOT.TB and tuberculin skin test 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:169.
Background
Diagnosis and treatment of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) is the most effective strategy to control tuberculosis (TB) among patients with HIV infection. The tuberculin skin test (TST) was the only available method to identify LTBI. The aim of the present work was to evaluate the usefulness of the interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs): QuantiFERON-tuberculosis (TB) Gold-In-Tube test (QFG) and T-SPOT.TB for the diagnosis of LTBI in a diverse cohort of HIV-infected patients.
Methods
A prospective study was carried out in consecutive patients cared for in a single institution in Spain from January 2009 to October 2010. IGRAs and TST were performed simultaneously. TST induration ≥ 5 mm was considered positive.
Results
QFG, T-SPOT.TB and TST were performed in 373 subjects. Median CD4 cell count was 470/μl with a median nadir of 150/μl. TST, QFG and T-SPOT.TB were positive in 13.3%, 7.5% and 18.5% cases respectively. Among 277 patients with neither past or current TB nor previous treatment for LTBI and who had TST results, a positive TST result was obtained in 20 (7.2%) cases. When adding QFG results to TST, there were a total of 26 (8.6%) diagnoses of LTBI. When the results of both IGRAs were added, the number of diagnoses increased to 54 (17.9%) (incremental difference: 10.7% [95% confidence interval [CI]:5.3-16.2%] [p < 0.001]), and when both IGRAs were added, the number of diagnoses reached 56 (18.5%) (incremental difference: 11.3% [95% CI:5.7%–16.9%] [p < 0.001]). Patients with a CD4 cell count greater than 500 cells/μl and prior stay in prison were more likely to have a diagnosis of LTBI by TST and/or QFG and/or T-SPOT.TB (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 3.8; 95% CI, 1.4 – 9.9; and aOR: 3.3; 95% CI, 1.3 – 8.3, respectively).
Conclusions
IGRAs were more sensitive than TST for diagnosis of M. tuberculosis infection in HIV-infected patients. Dual sequential testing with TST and IGRAs may be the optimal approach for LTBI screening in this population.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-169
PMCID: PMC3482589  PMID: 22849726
22.  Sensitivity Analysis and Potential Uses of a Novel Gamma Interferon Release Assay for Diagnosis of Tuberculosis 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2006;44(8):2844-2850.
Sputum smears for acid-fast bacilli (AFB) are the primary methods for diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) in many countries. The tuberculin skin test (TST) is the primary method for diagnosis of latent TB infection (LTBI) worldwide. The poor sensitivity of the former and the poor specificity of the latter warrant the development of new tests and strategies to enhance diagnostic capabilities. We evaluated the sensitivity of an “in-tube” gamma interferon release assay (IGRA) using TB-specific antigens in comparison to the TST and the sputum smear for AFB in TB cases in South Africa. The sensitivity of the IGRA for TB was considered a surrogate of sensitivity in LTBI. Among 154 patients with a positive culture for Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the sensitivity of the IGRA for the diagnosis of TB varied by clinical subgroup from 64% to 82%, that of the TST varied from 85% to 94%, and that of two sputum smears for AFB varied from 35% to 53%. The sensitivity of the IGRA in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected TB cases was 81%. HIV-infected TB patients were significantly more likely to have indeterminate IGRA results and produced quantitatively less gamma interferon in response to TB-specific antigens than HIV-negative TB patients. The overall sensitivity of the TST in all TB cases was higher than that of the IGRA (90% versus 76%, respectively). The combined sensitivities of the TST plus IGRA and TST plus a single sputum smear were 96% and 93%, respectively. The TST combined with IGRA or with a single sputum smear may have a role in excluding the diagnosis of TB in some settings.
doi:10.1128/JCM.02411-05
PMCID: PMC1594653  PMID: 16891501
23.  A Three-Way Comparison of Tuberculin Skin Testing, QuantiFERON-TB Gold and T-SPOT.TB in Children 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(7):e2624.
Background
There are limited data comparing the performance of the two commercially available interferon gamma (IFN-γ) release assays (IGRAs) for the diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) in children. We compared QuantiFERON-TB gold In Tube (QFT-IT), T-SPOT.TB and the tuberculin skin test (TST) in children at risk for latent TB infection or TB disease.
Methods and Findings
The results of both IGRAs were compared with diagnosis assigned by TST-based criteria and assessed in relation to TB contact history. Results from the TST and at least one assay were available for 96 of 100 children. Agreement between QFT-IT and T-SPOT.TB was high (93% agreement, κ = 0.83). QFT-IT and T-SPOT.TB tests were positive in 8 (89%) and 9 (100%) children with suspected active TB disease. There was moderate agreement between TST and either QFT-IT (75%, κ = 0.50) or T-SPOT.TB (75%, κ = 0.51). Among 38 children with TST-defined latent TB infection, QFT-IT gold and T-SPOT.TB assays were positive in 47% and 39% respectively. Three TST-negative children were positive by at least one IGRA. Children with a TB contact were more likely than children without a TB contact to have a positive IGRA (QFT-IT LR 3.9; T-SPOT.TB LR 3.9) and a positive TST (LR 1.4). Multivariate linear regression analysis showed that the magnitude of both TST induration and IGRA IFN-γ responses was significantly influenced by TB contact history, but only the TST was influenced by age.
Conclusions
Although a high level of agreement between the IGRAs was observed, they are commonly discordant with the TST. The correct interpretation of a negative assay in a child with a positive skin test in clinical practice remains challenging and highlights the need for longitudinal studies to determine the negative predictive value of IGRAs.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002624
PMCID: PMC2440545  PMID: 18612425
24.  Systematic review of cost and cost-effectiveness of different TB-screening strategies 
Background
Interferon-γ release assays (IGRAs) for TB have the potential to replace the tuberculin skin test (TST) in screening for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI). The higher per-test cost of IGRAs may be compensated for by lower post-screening costs (medical attention, chest x-rays and chemoprevention), given the higher specificity of the new tests as compared to that of the conventional TST. We conducted a systematic review of all publications that have addressed the cost or cost-effectiveness of IGRAs. The objective of this report was to undertake a structured review and critical appraisal of the methods used for the model-based cost-effectiveness analysis of TB screening programmes.
Methods
Using Medline and Embase, 75 publications that contained the terms "IGRA", "tuberculosis" and "cost" were identified. Of these, 13 were original studies on the costs or cost-effectiveness of IGRAs.
Results
The 13 relevant studies come from five low-to-medium TB-incidence countries. Five studies took only the costs of screening into consideration, while eight studies analysed the cost-effectiveness of different screening strategies. Screening was performed in high-risk groups: close contacts, immigrants from high-incidence countries and healthcare workers. Two studies used the T-SPOT.TB as an IGRA and the other studies used the QuantiFERON-TB Gold and/or Gold In-Tube test. All 13 studies observed a decrease in costs when the IGRAs were used. Six studies compared the use of an IGRA as a test to confirm a positive TST (TST/IGRA strategy) to the use of an IGRA-only strategy. In four of these studies, the two-step strategy and in two the IGRA-only strategy was more cost-effective. Assumptions about TST specificity and progression risk after a positive test had the greatest influence on determining which IGRA strategy was more cost-effective.
Conclusion
The available studies on cost-effectiveness provide strong evidence in support of the use of IGRAs in screening risk groups such as HCWs, immigrants from high-incidence countries and close contacts. So far, only two studies provide evidence that the IGRA-only screening strategy is more cost-effective.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-247
PMCID: PMC3196701  PMID: 21961888
25.  A comparison of an interferon-gamma release assay and tuberculin skin test in refractory inflammatory disease patients screened for latent tuberculosis prior to the initiation of a first tumor necrosis factor α inhibitor 
Clinical Rheumatology  2010;30(4):505-510.
Treatment with TNFα inhibitors increases risk of reactivating a latent tuberculosis\infection (LTBI). Therefore screening, prior to therapy with TNFα inhibitors, has been recommended, even in low-endemic areas such as well-developed Western Europe countries. We evaluated interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA), as opposed to tuberculin skin test (TST), for detection of LTBI in refractory inflammatory disease patients prior to the initiation of a first TNFα inhibitor. In addition, we evaluated the impact of impaired cellular immunity on IGRA. Patients starting on TNFα inhibition were screened for LTBI by TST and IGRA (Quantiferon-TB Gold). Data on tuberculosis exposure and Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccination were obtained. Cellular immunity was assessed by CD4+ T lymphocyte cell count. Nine out of 56 patients (16.1%) tested positive for LTBI. A concordant positive result was present in three patients with a medical history of tuberculosis exposure. Six patients with discordant test results had either: (1) a negative TST and positive IGRA in combination with a medical history of tuberculosis exposure (n = 1) or (2) a positive TST and negative IGRA in combination with BCG vaccination (n = 3) or a medical history of tuberculosis exposure (n = 2). CD4+ T lymphocyte cell counts were within normal limits, and no indeterminate results of IGRA were present. IGRA appears reliable for confirming TST and excluding a false positive TST (due to prior BCG vaccination) in this Dutch serie of patients. In addition, IGRA may detect one additional case of LTBI out of 56 patients that would otherwise be missed using solely TST. Immune suppression appears not to result significantly in lower CD4+ T lymphocyte cell counts and indeterminate results of IGRA, despite systemic corticosteroid treatment in half of the patients. Confirmation in larger studies, including assessment of cost-effectiveness, is required.
doi:10.1007/s10067-010-1550-z
PMCID: PMC3062765  PMID: 20737179
CD4+ T lymphocyte cell count; IGRA; Immune-mediated inflammatory disease; Latent tuberculosis infection; TNFα inhibition; TST

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