Background: Only 5% of the estimated global multidrug resistant TB (MDRTB) load is currently detected. Endemic Mumbai with increasing MDR would benefit from the introduction of molecular methods to detect resistance.
Methods: The GenoType MTBDRplus assay was used to determine mutations associated with isoniazid and rifampicin resistance and their correlation with treatment outcomes. It was performed on a convenience sample comprising 88 onset and 67 fifth month isolates for which phenotypic drug susceptibility testing (DST) was determined by the Buddemeyer technique for an earlier study. Simultaneous presence of wild type and mutant bands was referred to as "mixed patterns" (heteroresistance).
Results: Phenotypically 41 isolates were sensitive; 11 isoniazid, 2 rifampicin, 2 pyrazinamide and 5 ethambutol monoresistant; 16 polyresistant and 78 MDR. The agreement between both methods was excellent (kappa = 0.72-0.92). Of 22 rifampicin resistant onset isolates, the predominant rpoB mutations were the singular lack of WT8 (n = 8) and mixed D516V patterns (n = 9). Of the 64 rifampicin resistant fifth month isolates, the most frequent mutations were in WT8 (n = 31) with a further 9 showing the S531L mutation. Mixed patterns were seen in 22 (34%) isolates, most frequently for the D516V mutation (n = 21). Of the 22 onset and 35 fifth month katG mutants, 13 and 12 respectively showed the S315T1 mutation with loss of the WT. Mixed patterns involving both S315T1 and S315T2 were seen in 9 and 23 isolates respectively. Seventeen of 23 and 23/35 inhA mutant onset and fifth month isolates showed mixed A16G profiles. Additionally, 10 fifth month isolates lacked WT2. Five onset and 6 fifth month isolates had both katG and inhA mutations. An association was noted between only katG but not only inhA resistance and poor outcome (p = 0.037); and additional resistance to ethambutol (p = 0.0033). More fifth month than onset isolates had mixed profiles for at least 1 gene (p = 0.000001).
Conclusions: The use of the assay to rapidly diagnose MDR could guide simultaneous first- and second-line DST, and reduce the delay in administering appropriate regimens. Furthermore, detection of heteroresistance could prevent inaccurate "cured" treatment outcomes documented through smear microscopy and permit more sensitive detection of neonascent resistance.