Accuracy of QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus Test for Diagnosis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection in Children

J Clin Microbiol. 2020 May 26;58(6):e00272-20. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00272-20. Print 2020 May 26.


Compared to its predecessor QuantiFERON-TB Gold In Tube (QFT-IT), QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus (QFT-Plus) contains an additional antigen tube (TB2), stimulating both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. The ability to discriminate CD4+ and CD8+ responses is suggested to be useful in differentiating stages of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. While QFT-Plus has already been evaluated in adults, there are not enough data in children evaluated for suspected active tuberculosis (TB) or latent TB infection (LTBI). A prospective cross-sectional study was conducted among children aged 0 to 17 years who were evaluated for suspected active TB or screened for LTBI. All children underwent QFT-Plus and further clinical, radiological, and/or microbiological analyses according to clinical scenario. Of the 198 children enrolled, 43 (21.7%) were tested because of suspicion of active TB. A total of 12/43 (27.9%) were diagnosed with active TB, and among these, 10/12 (83.3%) had a positive QFT-Plus assay. Of the 155 children screened for LTBI, 18 (11.6%) had a positive QFT-Plus, and 5 (2.5%) had an indeterminate result. TB1 and TB2 quantitative responses were not able to discriminate active disease from latent infection. The percent agreement between TB1 and TB2 was 100%. QFT-Plus assay showed good sensitivity for active TB and was particularly useful for the evaluation of children with suspected LTBI, giving a low rate of indeterminate results in this group. More studies are needed to properly evaluate QFT-Plus ability in discriminating active disease from latent infection.

Keywords: IGRAs; QuantiFERON; QuantiFERON Plus; children; interferon gamma release assay; tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma Release Tests
  • Latent Tuberculosis* / diagnosis
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tuberculin Test
  • Tuberculosis* / diagnosis