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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.
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.
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.
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).
Positive IGRAs in HIV-1 infected pregnant women were associated with postpartum active TB and mortality in mothers and their infants.
PMCID: PMC3058232  PMID: 21067370
Latent tuberculosis infection; HIV-1; women; infants; T-SPOT.TB; IGRA
2.  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.
PMCID: PMC3312220  PMID: 22496602
3.  Correlation between tuberculin skin test and IGRAs with risk factors for the spread of infection in close contacts with sputum smear positive in pulmonary tuberculosis 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:258.
The aim of the study was to assess the correlation between the tuberculin skin test (TST) and in vitro interferon-gamma released assays (IGRAs) with risk factors for the spread of infection in smear positive pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) contacts.
We recruited prospective contacts with smear positive pulmonary TB cases. We looked at human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and other conditions of immunosuppression, presence of BCG vaccination and the degree of exposure to the index case. Patients underwent the TST, chest radiography, sputum analysis when necessary, and IGRA assays (QFN-G-IT and T-SPOT.TB). Presence of cough, diagnostic delay (days between first symptoms and TB diagnostic), contact conditions: room size (square meters) and index of overcrowding (square meters per person) were investigated in the index case.
156 contacts (119 adults, 37 children) of 66 TB patients were enrolled, 2.4 (1-14) contacts per TB case. The positivity of the TST did not correlate with the risk factors studied: presence of cough (p = 0.929); delayed diagnosis (p = 0.244); room size (p = 0.462); overcrowding (p = 0.800). Both QFN-G-IT and T-SPOT.TB, showed significant association with cough (p = 0.001, and p = 0.007) and room size (p = 0.020, and p = 0.023), respectively.
Both IGRA associated better than TST with certain host-related risk factors involved in the transmission of disease, such as the presence of cough.
PMCID: PMC4030278  PMID: 24885850
Tuberculosis infection; Tuberculin skin test; Interferon gamma release assays; IGRA; Overcrowding; Diagnostic delay; Cough
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.
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).
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.
PMCID: PMC3293815  PMID: 22403663
5.  Bronchoalveolar Lavage Enzyme-Linked Immunospot for Diagnosis of Smear-Negative Tuberculosis in HIV-Infected Patients 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39838.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3383728  PMID: 22745833
6.  High prevalence of latent tuberculosis infection among injection drug users in Tijuana, Mexico 
We studied prevalence and correlates of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) among injection drug users (IDUs) in Tijuana, Mexico, where tuberculosis (TB) is endemic.
IDUs aged ⩾18 years were recruited via respondent-driven sampling (RDS) and underwent standardized interviews, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibody testing and LTBI screening using QuantiFERON®-TB Gold In-Tube, a whole-blood interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA). LTBI prevalence was estimated and correlates were identified using RDS-weighted logistic regression.
Of 1020 IDUs, 681 (67%) tested IGRA-positive and 44 (4%) tested HIV-positive. Mean age was 37 years, 88% were male and 98% were Mexican-born. IGRA positivity was associated with recruitment nearest the US border (aOR 1.64, 95%CI 1.09–2.48), increasing years of injection (aOR 1.20/5 years, 95%CI 1.07–1.34), and years lived in Tijuana (aOR 1.10/5 years, 95%CI 1.03–1.18). Speaking some English (aOR 0.38, 95%CI 0.25–0.57) and injecting most often at home in the past 6 months (aOR 0.68, 95%CI 0.45–0.99) were inversely associated with IGRA positivity.
Increased LTBI prevalence among IDUs in Tijuana appears to be associated with greater drug involvement. Given the high risk for HIV infection among Tijuana’s IDUs, interventions are urgently needed to prevent HIV infection and treat LTBI among IDUs before these epidemics collide.
PMCID: PMC2744313  PMID: 19383197
injection drug use; tuberculosis; HIV; Mexico; interferon-gamma release assay; QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube assay; latent TB infection
7.  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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
PMCID: PMC3482589  PMID: 22849726
8.  The Role of the Interferon Gamma Release Assay in Assessing Recent Tuberculosis Transmission in a Hospital Incident 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e20770.
In 2007, an extensive contact screening investigation into onward transmission of tuberculosis was instigated at a hospital in Northern Ireland following diagnosis of pulmonary multi-drug resistant TB in a healthcare worker. Interferon gamma release assays (IGRAs) were used to test 333 patients and 98 staff. We investigated for evidence of onward transmission and recent infection based on analysis of clinical, demographic and IGRA data. We also described within-patient variability of IGRA results. Among patients and staff, increasing age of patients was the only factor associated with IGRA positivity. Greatest within-subject variability of IU/mL in serially-tested patients/staff was seen in those with a positive IGRA test and this did not correlate with increased exposure to the index case. IGRA positivity being largely explained by increasing age in patients and previous TB contact in staff lends weight to the conclusion that IGRA positivity reflected previous infection rather than recent transmission.
PMCID: PMC3113857  PMID: 21695149
9.  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.
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.
10.  Interferon-Gamma Release Assays for the Diagnosis of Active Tuberculosis in HIV-Infected Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e26827.
Interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs) have provided a new method for the diagnosis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. However, the role of IGRAs for the diagnosis of active tuberculosis (TB), especially in HIV-infected patients remains unclear.
We searched PubMed, EMBASE and Cochrane databases to identify studies published in January 2001–July 2011 that evaluated the evidence of using QuantiFERON-TB Gold in-tube (QFT-GIT) and T-SPOT.TB (T-SPOT) on blood for the diagnosis of active TB in HIV-infected patients.
The search identified 16 eligible studies that included 2801 HIV-infected individuals (637 culture confirmed TB cases). The pooled sensitivity for the diagnosis of active TB was 76.7% (95%CI, 71.6–80.5%) and 77.4% (95%CI, 71.4–82.6%) for QFT-GIT and T-SPOT, respectively, while the specificity was 76.1% (95%CI, 74.0–78.0%) and 63.1% (95%CI, 57.6–68.3%) after excluding the indeterminate results. Studies conducted in low/middle income countries showed slightly lower sensitivity and specificity when compared to that in high-income countries. The proportion of indeterminate results was as high as 10% (95%CI, 8.8–11.3%) and 13.2% (95%CI, 10.6–16.0%) for QFT-GIT and T-SPOT, respectively.
IGRAs in their current formulations have limited accuracy in diagnosing active TB in HIV-infected patients, and should not be used alone to rule out or rule in active TB cases in HIV-infected patients. Further modification is needed to improve their accuracy.
PMCID: PMC3206065  PMID: 22069472
11.  Serial Interferon-gamma Release Assays for the Diagnosis of Latent Tuberculosis Infection in Patients Treated with Immunosuppressive Agents 
We assessed the efficacy of serial interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs) for the diagnosis of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) in patients receiving immunosuppressive agents for treatment of rheumatic diseases in Korea.
Of 276 patients who underwent consecutive screening with one of two IGRAs [QuantiFERON-TB Gold or QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube], 66 patients were evaluated by the serial IGRA for detection of LTBI during therapy with immunosuppressive agents. Information on clinical diagnosis, medication, previous TB, blood cell count, tuberculin skin test, and interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) level measured by IGRA was collected.
Of the 66 patients, the initial IGRA was positive in 24.2%, negative in 65.2%, and indeterminate in 10.6%. Forty-six patients (69.7%) showed consistent IGRA results during follow-up, and 13 patients (19.7%) had consistently positive results. IGRA conversion rate was 12.1% (8/66) and reversion rate was 4.5% (3/66). Conversion of IGRA results was only observed in ankylosing spondylitis patients, and the median interval between the two tests in patients with conversion was 8.5 months. The mean IFN-γ level in the group of patients with consistently positive IGRA results was higher than that in the group with inconsistently positive results, although this trend was not statistically significant (P=0.293). Indeterminate results were observed most frequently in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.
In patients receiving immunosuppressive agents, both IGRA conversions and reversions were observed. Serial IGRA testing may not be needed in patients with a positive initial IGRA result showing high IFN-γ levels, because of high consistency in the test results.
PMCID: PMC3190006  PMID: 22016681
Interferon-gamma release assay; Latent tuberculosis infection; Immunosuppressive agent; Conversion
12.  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.
PMCID: PMC3416070  PMID: 22718129
13.  Interferon-γ Release Assays for Active Pulmonary Tuberculosis Diagnosis in Adults in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2011;204(Suppl 4):S1120-S1129.
Background. The diagnostic value of interferon-γ release assays (IGRAs) for active tuberculosis in low- and middle-income countries is unclear.
Methods. We searched multiple databases for studies published through May 2010 that evaluated the diagnostic performance of QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube (QFT-GIT) and T-SPOT.TB (T-SPOT) among adults with suspected active pulmonary tuberculosis or patients with confirmed cases in low- and middle-income countries. We summarized test performance characteristics with use of forest plots, hierarchical summary receiver operating characteristic (HSROC) curves, and bivariate random effects models.
Results. Our search identified 789 citations, of which 27 observational studies (17 QFT-GIT and 10 T-SPOT) evaluating 590 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–uninfected and 844 HIV-infected individuals met inclusion criteria. Among HIV-infected patients, HSROC/bivariate pooled sensitivity estimates (highest quality data) were 76% (95% confidence interval [CI], 45%–92%) for T-SPOT and 60% (95% CI, 34%–82%) for QFT-GIT. HSROC/bivariate pooled specificity estimates were low for both IGRA platforms among all participants (T-SPOT, 61% [95% CI, 40%–79%]; QFT-GIT, 52% [95% CI, 41%–62%]) and among HIV-infected persons (T-SPOT, 52% [95% CI, 40%–63%]; QFT-GIT, 50% [95% CI, 35%–65%]). There was no consistent evidence that either IGRA was more sensitive than the tuberculin skin test for active tuberculosis diagnosis.
Conclusions. In low- and middle-income countries, neither the tuberculin skin test nor IGRAs have value for active tuberculosis diagnosis in adults, especially in the context of HIV coinfection.
PMCID: PMC3192542  PMID: 21996694
14.  Feasibility, acceptability, and cost of tuberculosis testing by whole-blood interferon-gamma assay 
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC1434750  PMID: 16539718
15.  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.
PMCID: PMC3232699  PMID: 21994356
16.  The Use of Interferon Gamma Release Assays in the Diagnosis of Active Tuberculosis 
Interferon gamma release assays (IGRAs) are in vitro immunologic diagnostic tests used to identify Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. They cannot differentiate between latent and active infections. The cutoff suggested by the manufacturer is 0.35 IU/mL for latent tuberculosis. As IGRA tests were recently approved for the differential diagnosis of active tuberculosis, we assessed the diagnostic accuracy of the latest generation IGRA for detection of active tuberculosis in a low-incidence area in Germany. Our consecutive case series includes 61 HIV negative, Mycobacterium tuberculosis culture positive patients, as well as 234 control patients. The retrospective analysis was performed over a period of two years. In 11/61 patients with active tuberculosis (18.0%) the test result was <0.35 IU/mL, resulting in a sensitivity of 0.82. We recommend establishing a new cut-off value for the differential diagnosis of active tuberculosis assessed by prospective clinical studies and in various regions with high and low prevalence of tuberculosis.
PMCID: PMC3335531  PMID: 22567275
17.  Poor concordance between interferon-γ release assays and tuberculin skin tests in diagnosis of latent tuberculosis infection among HIV-infected individuals 
A new generation of diagnostic tests, the interferon-γ release assays (IGRAs), have been developed for the detection of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI). Limited data are available on their use in HIV-infected persons.
A cross-sectional study was carried out at 2 HIV clinics in Atlanta to assess the utility of two IGRA tests (T-SPOT.TB [TSPOT] and QuantiFERON-TB Gold in Tube [QFT-3G]) compared to the tuberculin skin test (TST).
336 HIV-infected persons were enrolled. Median CD4 count was 335 cells/μl and median HIV viral load was 400 copies/ml. Overall, 27 patients (8.0%) had at least 1 positive diagnostic test for LTBI: 7 (2.1%) had a positive TST; 9 (2.7%) a positive QFT-3G; and 14 (4.2%) a positive TSPOT. Agreement between the 3 diagnostic tests was poor: TST and TSPOT, [κ = 0.16, 95% CI (-0.06, 0.39)], TST and QFT-3G [κ = 0.23, 95% CI (-0.05, 0.51)], QFT-3G and TSPOT [κ = 0.06, 95% CI (-0.1, 0.2)]. An indeterminate test result occurred among 6 (1.8%) of QFT-3G and 47 (14%) of TSPOT tests. In multivariate analysis, patients with a CD4 ≤ 200 cells/μl were significantly more likely to have an indeterminate result [OR = 3.6, 95% CI (1.9, 6.8)].
We found a low prevalence of LTBI and poor concordance between all 3 diagnostic tests. Indeterminate test results were more likely at CD4 counts ≤ 200 cells/μl. Additional studies among HIV-infected populations with a high prevalence of TB are needed to further assess the utility of IGRAs in this patient population.
PMCID: PMC2649136  PMID: 19208218
18.  Analysis of Factors Lowering Sensitivity of Interferon-γ Release Assay for Tuberculosis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e23806.
Imperfect sensitivity of interferon-γ release assay (IGRA) is a potential problem to detect tuberculosis. We made a thorough investigation of the factors that can lead to false negativity of IGRA.
We recruited 543 patients with new smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis in Hanoi, Viet Nam. At diagnosis, peripheral blood was collected and IGRA (QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube) was performed. Clinical and epidemiological information of the host and pathogen was collected. The test sensitivity was calculated and factors negatively influencing IGRA results were evaluated using a logistic regression model in 504 patients with culture-confirmed pulmonary tuberculosis.
The overall sensitivity of IGRA was 92.3% (95% CI, 89.6%–94.4%). The proportions of IGRA-negative and -indeterminate results were 4.8% (95% CI, 3.1%–7.0%) and 3.0% (95% CI, 1.7%–4.9%). Age increased by year, body mass index <16.0, HIV co-infection and the increased number of HLA-DRB1*0701 allele that patients bear showed significant associations with IGRA negativity (OR = 1.04 [95% CI, 1.01–1.07], 5.42 [1.48–19.79], 6.38 [1.78–22.92] and 5.09 [2.31–11.22], respectively). HIV co-infection and the same HLA allele were also associated with indeterminate results (OR = 99.59 [95% CI, 15.58–625.61] and 4.25 [1.27–14.16]).
Aging, emaciation, HIV co-infection and HLA genotype affected IGRA results. Assessment of these factors might contribute to a better understanding of the assay.
PMCID: PMC3158775  PMID: 21886824
19.  Role of interferon-gamma release assays in the diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis in patients with advanced HIV infection 
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC2846947  PMID: 20302657
20.  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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3568693  PMID: 21846592
21.  Factors Associated with Indeterminate and False Negative Results of QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube Test in Active Tuberculosis 
The sensitivities and specificities of interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs) vary among different population studies, and the data on the routine use of IGRAs are limited. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube (QFT-GIT) test in the diagnosis of active tuberculosis.
We conducted a prospective study, enrolling 77 patients with suspected pulmonary tuberculosis (TB), at a secondary care teaching hospital in Seoul.
In total, 12 (15.6%) patients showed indeterminate results due to positive control failure on the QFT-GIT test. Indeterminate results were significantly associated with the elderly, history of the intensive care unit stay, lymphocytopenia, especially low CD4 count, increased C-reactive protein and decreased protein levels. Of the 77 patients, 44 (57.1%) were diagnosed with active pulmonary tuberculosis, and the percentage of false negative results of the QFT-GIT was 36.4% (vs. 31.8% with TST). In the TB group with >65 years old (n=12), the proportions of the indeterminate (33.3% vs. 3.1%) and the false negative results (58.3% vs. 25.0%) of the QFT-GIT were significantly higher than in the younger TB group (n=32).
Indeterminate and false negative results of QFT-GIT test were not infrequent in tuberculosis, especially in the elderly. Care should be considered for the interpretation with the elderly, immunocompromised, chronic and severely diseased patients.
PMCID: PMC3475462  PMID: 23101006
Interferon-gamma Release Tests; Tuberculin Test; Aged
22.  Apoptosis-associated biomarkers in tuberculosis: promising for diagnosis and prognosis prediction 
Apoptosis-associated biomarkers are rarely studied, especially their role in predicting the development of tuberculosis (TB) from latent TB infection and in prognostication.
Patients with TB and interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA)-positive and IGRA-negative family contacts were evaluated to analyze changes in apoptosis-associated serum biomarkers, which included decoy receptor 3 (DcR3), prostaglandin 2 (PGE2), and lipoxin. The prognostic implications of these serum biomarkers were also analyzed.
One hundred TB patients and 92 IGRA-negative and 91 IGRA-positive family contacts were recruited. The DcR3 and PGE2 levels decreased from the IGRA-negative group to the IGRA-positive group, and peaked in the TB group. Lipoxin decreased to trough in the TB group. The three apoptosis serum markers and age were independent factors discriminating active TB from latent TB infection. In active TB, older age, co-morbidity, and higher serum DcR3 and monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-1 were independently associated with poorer six-month survival.
Apoptosis-associated serum biomarkers change along with the status of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. In close contacts with positive IGRA, high DcR3 and PGE2 and low lipoxin may increase the probability of active TB. Older age, co-morbidity, and high DcR3 and MCP-1 levels might be important prognostic factors that warrant further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3566962  PMID: 23356448
Apoptosis; Decoy receptor 3; Latent tuberculosis infection; Lipoxin; Prostaglandin E2; Tuberculosis
23.  Interferon-gamma release assays are a better tuberculosis screening test for hemodialysis patients: A study and review of the literature 
Diagnosing latent tuberculosis (TB) infection (LTBI) in dialysis patients is complicated by poor response to tuberculin skin testing (TST), but the role of interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs) in the dialysis population remains uncertain. Seventy-nine patients were recruited to compare conventional diagnosis (CD) with the results of two IGRA tests in a dialysis unit. Combining TST, chest x-ray and screening questionnaire results (ie, CD) identified 24 patients as possible LTBI. IGRA testing identified 22 (QuantiFERON Gold IT, Cellestis, USA) and 23 (T-spot.TB, Oxford Immunotec, United Kingdom) LTBI patients. IGRA and CD correlated moderately (κ=0.59). IGRA results correlated with history of TB, TB contact and birth in an endemic country. TST was not helpful in identifying LTBI patients in this population. The tendency for IGRAs to correlate with risk factors for TB, active TB infection and history of TB argues for their superiority over TST in dialysis patients. There was no superiority of one IGRA test over another.
PMCID: PMC3476553  PMID: 23997776
Dialysis; Host; Immunocompromised; Interferon-gamma release assay; Latent tuberculosis infection; Tuberculin skin testing; Tuberculosis
24.  Factors associated with latent tuberculosis among asylum seekers in Switzerland: a cross-sectional study in Vaud County 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:285.
Screening and treatment of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) in asylum seekers (AS) may prevent future cases of tuberculosis. As the screening with Interferon Gamma Release Assay (IGRA) is costly, the objective of this study was to assess which factors were associated with LTBI and to define a score allowing the selection of AS with the highest risk of LTBI.
In across-sectional study, AS seekers recently arrived in Vaud County, after screening for tuberculosis at the border were offered screening for LTBI with T-SPOT.TB and questionnaire on potentially risk factors. The factors associated with LTBI were analyzed by univariate and multivariate regression.
Among 393 adult AS, 98 (24.93%) had a positive IGRA response, five of them with active tuberculosis previously undetected. Six factors associated with LTBI were identified in multivariate analysis: origin, travel conditions, marital status, cough, age and prior TB exposure. Their combination leads to a robust LTBI predictive score.
The prevalence of LTBI and active tuberculosis in AS is high. A predictive score integrating six factors could identify the asylum seekers with the highest risk for LTBI.
PMCID: PMC3551725  PMID: 23121680
Asylum seeker; Latent tuberculosis infection; Tuberculosis; Risk factors; Predictive score; Interferon gamma release assay
25.  High background rates of positive tuberculosis-specific interferon-γ release assays in a low prevalence region of UK: a surveillance study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:339.
Background rates of latent tuberculosis infection in low prevalence regions of Britain are unknown. These would be valuable data for interpreting positive IGRA results, and guiding cost-benefit analyses. The management of a large outbreak of tuberculosis occurring in a rural district hospital provided an opportunity to determine the background rates and epidemiology of IGRA-positivity amongst unselected hospital patients in a low-prevalence region of U.K.
As part of a public health surveillance project we identified 445 individuals exposed to the index cases for clinical assessment and testing by a TB-specific interferon-γ release assay (IGRA): T-Spot.TB. Uniquely, an additional comparator group of 191 age-matched individuals without specific recent exposure, but with a similar age distribution and demographic, were recruited from the same wards where exposure had previously occurred, to undergo assessment by questionnaire and IGRA.
Rates of IGRA positivity were 8.7% (95%CI, 4.2-13, n=149) amongst unexposed patients, 9.5%(3.0-22, n=21) amongst unexposed staff, 22%(14–29, n=130) amongst exposed patients, 11%(6.1-16, n=142) amongst exposed staff. Amongst the individuals without history of recent exposure to the outbreak, IGRA-positivity was associated with prior TB treatment (OR11, P.04) and corticosteroid use (OR5.9, P.02). Background age-specific prevalences of IGRA-positivity amongst unexposed individuals were: age <40 0%(N/A), age 40–59 15%(12–29), age 60–79 7.0%(1.1-13), age≥80 10%(5.9-19).
Background rates of IGRA-positivity remain high amongst unselected white-Caucasian hospital inpatients in U.K. These data will aid interpretation of future outbreak studies. As rates peak in the 5th and 6th decade, given an ageing population and increasing iatrogenic immunosuppression, reactivation of LTBI may be a persistent hazard in this population for several decades to come.
PMCID: PMC3537536  PMID: 23216965
Tuberculosis; Diagnosis; Mycobacterium; T-Spot.TB; Enzyme-linked immunospot

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