Objectives: We investigated the relationship between tuberculosis recurrence and Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigen-stimulated interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) responses during treatment.
Methods: Plasma IFN-γ levels in active pulmonary tuberculosis patients (n = 407) were analyzed using QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube™ (QFT-IT) at 0, 2, and 7 months of the 8-month treatment received from 2007 to 2009 and the patients were followed up for another 16 months after treatment. Risk factors for recurrence were assessed using the log-rank test and Cox proportional hazard models. Random coefficient models were used to compare longitudinal patterns of IFN-γ levels between groups.
Results: QFT-IT showed positive results in 95.6%, 86.2%, and 83.5% at 0, 2, and 7 months, respectively. The antigen-stimulated IFN-γ responses varied significantly during the treatment course (P < 0.0001). Unexpectedly, positive-to-negative conversion of QFT-IT results between 0 and 2 months was significantly associated with earlier recurrence (adjusted hazard ratio, 5.57; 95% confidence interval, 2.28-13.57). Time-dependent changes in IFN-γ levels were significantly different between the recurrence and nonrecurrence groups (P < 0.0001).
Conclusions: Although the IGRA response varies individually, early response during the treatment course may provide an insight into host immune responses underlying tuberculosis recurrence.
Keywords: Cellular response; Interferon-γ release assay; Recurrence; Tuberculosis.
Copyright © 2014 The British Infection Association. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.