Diagnostic accuracy of adenosine deaminase in tuberculous pleurisy: a meta-analysis

Respir Med. 2008 May;102(5):744-54. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2007.12.007. Epub 2008 Jan 28.


Background: Conventional tests are not always helpful in making a diagnosis of tuberculous pleurisy. Many studies have investigated the usefulness of adenosine deaminase (ADA) in pleural fluid for the early diagnosis of tuberculous pleurisy. We conducted a meta-analysis to determine the accuracy of ADA measurements in the diagnosis of tuberculous pleurisy.

Methods: After a systematic review of English language studies, sensitivity, specificity, and other measures of accuracy of ADA concentration in the diagnosis of pleural effusion were pooled using random effects models. Summary receiver operating characteristic curves were used to summarize overall test performance.

Results: Sixty-three studies met our inclusion criteria. The summary estimates for ADA in the diagnosis of tuberculous pleurisy in the studies included were sensitivity 0.92 (95% confidence interval 0.90-0.93), specificity 0.90 (95% confidence interval 0.89-0.91), positive likelihood ratio 9.03 (95% confidence interval 7.19-11.35), negative likelihood ratio 0.10 (95% confidence interval 0.07-0.14), and diagnostic odds ratio 110.08 (95% confidence interval 69.96-173.20).

Conclusions: ADA determination is a relative sensitive and specific test for the diagnosis of tuberculous pleurisy. Measurement of ADA in pleural effusion is thus likely to be a useful diagnostic tool for tuberculous pleurisy. The results of ADA assays should be interpreted in parallel with clinical findings and the results of conventional tests.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Deaminase / analysis*
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Clinical Enzyme Tests
  • Humans
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pleural Effusion / enzymology*
  • ROC Curve
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tuberculosis, Pleural / diagnosis*


  • Biomarkers
  • Adenosine Deaminase