Assessment of treatment response in tuberculosis

Expert Rev Respir Med. 2016 Jun;10(6):643-54. doi: 10.1586/17476348.2016.1166960. Epub 2016 Mar 31.


Antibiotic treatment of tuberculosis has a duration of several months. There is significant variability of the host immune response and the pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic properties of Mycobacterium tuberculosis sub-populations at the site of disease. A limitation of sputum-based measures of treatment response may be sub-optimal detection and monitoring of Mycobacterium tuberculosis sub-populations. Potential biomarkers and surrogate endpoints should be benchmarked against hard clinical outcomes (failure/relapse/death) and may need tailoring to specific patient populations. Here, we assess the evidence supporting currently utilized and future potential host and pathogen-based models and biomarkers for monitoring treatment response in active and latent tuberculosis. Biomarkers for monitoring treatment response in extrapulmonary, pediatric and drug resistant tuberculosis are research priorities.

Keywords: Tuberculosis; biomarkers; humans; therapeutics; treatment outcome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / isolation & purification
  • Sputum / microbiology
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / drug therapy*
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / metabolism
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / drug therapy*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / metabolism


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Biomarkers