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, 16 (1), 163

The Performance of Interferon-Gamma Release Assay in Nontuberculous Mycobacterial Diseases: A Retrospective Study in China


The Performance of Interferon-Gamma Release Assay in Nontuberculous Mycobacterial Diseases: A Retrospective Study in China

Mao-Shui Wang et al. BMC Pulm Med.


Background: The interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA) is more specific than the tuberculin skin test to discriminate between tuberculosis (TB) and nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) diseases. Here we performed a retrospective study to evaluate the performance of the T-SPOT.TB in patients with NTM diseases.

Methods: Between March, 2013 and Nov, 2015, a total of 58 patients with NTM diseases had a T-SPOT.TB performed were enrolled, 30 patients had definite NTM diseases, 28 had probable diseases. Their clinicopathological characteristics were reviewed and analyzed. Cultures for mycobacteria were performed. The indirect proportion method with Löwenstein-Jensen (L-J) medium was used for first-line drug susceptibility test. T-SPOT.TB assay was performed according to the manufacturer's instructions. Data were expressed as mean ± standard deviation (continuous variables) and as numbers and percentages (categorical variables). The χ 2 test was used for comparisons between proportions.

Results: The average age was 51.8 ± 16.1 years (range 10 to 77 years), 58.6% (34/58) were male. 16.4% (9/55) were TB-PCR positive. 34 (58.6%) isolates were Mycobacterium intracellulare, ten (17.2%) were Mycobacterium chelonae and seven (12.1%) were Mycobacterium fortuitum. Fifty-two (89.7%) patients were NTM lung disease, five (8.6%) were pleural disease, and one (1.7%) lymphadenitis. The total positivity of T-SPOT.TB was 53.4% (31/58) among the whole group (probable and definite). For probable cases, the T-SPOT.TB assay was positive in 53.5% (15/28); for definite cases, 16 (53.3%) of 30 definite cases were positive. There was no statistical difference in the positivity rate between them (P < 0.01).

Conclusions: In the study, we showed that a significant portion of NTM diseases were T-SPOT.TB positive in China. Although T-SPOT.TB is useful diagnostic method for differentiating TB from NTM diseases, in China, the IGRA assay show limited value in the discrimination. In addition, further research is needed to investigate the association between TB infection and treatment for NTM patients.

Keywords: Mixed infection; Nontuberculous mycobacterium infections; T-SPOT.TB; Tuberculosis.

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