The QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube Assay in Neuro-Ophthalmology

J Neuroophthalmol. 2017 Sep;37(3):242-246. doi: 10.1097/WNO.0000000000000487.


Background: Although QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube (QFT-GIT) testing is regularly used to detect infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, its utility in a patient population with a low risk for tuberculosis (TB) has been questioned. The following is a cohort study analyzing the efficacy of QFT-GIT testing as a method for detection of active TB disease in low-risk individuals in a neuro-ophthalmologic setting.

Methods: Ninety-nine patients from 2 neuro-ophthalmology centers were identified as having undergone QFT-GIT testing between January 2012 and February 2016. Patients were divided into groups of negative, indeterminate, and positive QFT-GIT results. Records of patients with positive QFT-GIT results were reviewed for development of latent or active TB, as determined by clinical, bacteriologic, and/or radiographic evidence.

Results: Of the 99 cases reviewed, 18 patients had positive QFT-GIT tests. Of these 18 cases, 12 had documentation of chest radiographs or computed tomography which showed no evidence for either active TB or pulmonary latent TB infection (LTBI). Four had chest imaging which was indicative of possible LTBI. None of these 18 patients had symptoms of active TB and none developed active TB within the follow-up period.

Conclusions: Based on our results, we conclude that routine testing with QFT-GIT in a low-risk cohort did not diagnose active TB infection. We do not recommend routine QFT-GIT testing for TB low-risk individuals, as discerned through patient and exposure history, ocular examination, and clinical judgment, in neuro-ophthalmology practice.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antigens, Bacterial / analysis*
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma Release Tests / instrumentation*
  • Latent Tuberculosis / diagnosis*
  • Latent Tuberculosis / microbiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / immunology*
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / isolation & purification
  • Neurology / methods*
  • Ophthalmology / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tuberculin Test / instrumentation*


  • Antigens, Bacterial