QuantiFERON TB Gold Plus for the diagnosis of tuberculosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

J Infect. 2019 Nov;79(5):444-453. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2019.08.018. Epub 2019 Aug 29.


Estimated 2017 tuberculosis (TB) incidence is 10 million and mainly depends on the reservoir of individuals with latent TB infection (LTBI). Quantiferon-TB Gold in-Tube (QFT-GIT) is one of the tests used for LTBI detection. Since 2015 a new version, Quantiferon-TB Gold Plus (QFT-Plus) is available.

Objectives: To perform a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the diagnostic accuracy for TB of QFT-Plus compared to QFT-GIT.

Methods: PubMed and Scopus were used to detect records related to predefined strings from 2015 to 2018. Full text articles dealing with the sensitivity and/or specificity of the QFT-Plus vs. QFT-GIT for active-TB and LTBI detection were analyzed. Scientific quality and risk of bias were assessed using QADAS-2.

Results: We selected 15 articles. Studies were mainly observational and cross-sectional, performed in 8 countries. Sample size differed in the TB group (27 to 164) compared to LTBI group (29 to 1031). Pooled sensitivity of QFT-Plus for active-TB was 0.94 (0.91 and 0.95 for TB1 and TB2, respectively), whereas pooled specificity for healthy status was 0.96. Pooled sensitivity and specificity for LTBI was 0.91 and 0.95, respectively.

Conclusions: We show that QFT-Plus is more sensitive compared to QFT-GIT for detecting M. tuberculosis infection, mainly due to TB2 responses.

Keywords: Meta-analysis; QuantiFERON TB Gold Plus; TB, LTBI.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma Release Tests / methods*
  • Male
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / immunology*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis*