Comparison of the QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube test with the tuberculin skin test for detecting latent tuberculosis infection prior to hematopoietic stem cell transplantation

Transpl Infect Dis. 2013 Feb;15(1):104-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3062.2012.00765.x. Epub 2012 Jul 23.


A total of 244 patients including 100 (41%) autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HCT) recipients and 144 (59%) allogeneic HCT recipients were enrolled over a 28-month period. During the study period, no prophylaxis for latent tuberculosis (TB) infection was administrated. Of these, 201 (82%) had Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) scars or prior histories of BCG vaccination. The tuberculin skin test (TST) and the QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube (QFT-GIT) test were performed simultaneously in all 244 patients. TST indurations were ≥ 5 mm in 39 of these patients (15%), and in 25 (10%) indurations were ≥ 10 mm. In addition, 40 (16%) had positive QFT-GIT outcomes, and 34 (14%) indeterminate outcomes. If the 34 patients with indeterminate QFT-GIT results were excluded from the overall agreement analysis, the agreement between the TST results (induration size ≥ 5 mm) and the QFT-GIT results in the 210 patients with clear QFT results was poor (κ = 0.08, 95% confidence interval [CI] -0.06 to 0.24), as it was for the patients with indurations ≥ 10 mm (κ = 0.15, 95% CI -0.004 to 0.31). During follow up, 2 patients developed TB after HCT. The incidence of TB in the patients with positive QFT-GIT outcomes was 2.80 per 100 person-years (95% CI 0.07-15.81), whereas among those with positive TST (≥ 5 mm) results, it was 0 per 100 person-years (95% CI 0-8.00). However, this finding should be cautiously interpreted because of the relatively short follow up and the fact that the sample size of the study cohort did not have adequate power. In conclusion, our data show that, although the frequencies of positive outcomes in the 2 TB screening tests were similar, the overall agreement between the TST and the QFT-GIT test was poor, regardless of BCG vaccination history.

Trial registration: NCT01021124.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • BCG Vaccine / immunology
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma Release Tests / methods*
  • Latent Tuberculosis / diagnosis*
  • Latent Tuberculosis / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / immunology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Tuberculin Test / methods*


  • BCG Vaccine

Associated data