Comparison of an interferon-gamma release assay with tuberculin skin testing in HIV-infected individuals

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2007 Apr 1;175(7):737-42. doi: 10.1164/rccm.200608-1088OC. Epub 2007 Jan 11.


Rationale: Although interferon (IFN)-gamma release assays are approved for the diagnosis of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI), limited data exist regarding their performance in HIV infection.

Objectives: To compare tuberculin skin test (TST) results to the commercial IFN-gamma release assay QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube (QFT) for the diagnosis of LTBI in HIV-infected adults.

Methods: A total of 294 HIV-infected subjects sampled from two San Francisco cohorts underwent TST, using 5 TU of purified protein derivative, and QFT, measuring IFN-gamma response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis-specific RD-1 antigens.

Main results: Of 294 participants, 205 (70%) returned for an evaluable TST. Concordance between QFT and TST was 89.3% (kappa=0.37, p=0.007). However, in subjects with positive test results by either TST or QFT, only 28% (8/29) had positive test results by both modalities. TST-positive/QFT-negative discordant results were found in 5.1% of subjects and TST-negative/QFT-positive discordance in 5.6%. Indeterminate QFT results occurred in 5.1%, all due to a failure to respond to the phytohemagglutinin-positive control. Subjects with a CD4(+) count of less than 100 cells/mm(3) had a relative risk of an indeterminate result of 4.24 (95% confidence interval, 1.55-11.61; p=0.003) compared with those with a CD4(+) count of 100 or more.

Conclusions: Overall concordance between QFT and TST in HIV infection was high, but agreement among subjects with positive tests by either modality was low.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carrier State
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / blood*
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Tuberculin Test*
  • Tuberculosis / blood*
  • Tuberculosis / complications
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis*
  • Urban Health


  • Interferon-gamma