A novel blood-based assay for treatment monitoring of tuberculosis

BMC Res Notes. 2021 Jun 30;14(1):247. doi: 10.1186/s13104-021-05663-z.


Objectives: A novel 3-gene host transcriptional signature (GBP5, DUSP3 and KLF2) has been validated for tuberculosis (TB) treatment monitoring using laboratory-based RNA sequencing platforms. The signature was recently translated by Cepheid into a prototype cartridge-based test that can be run on the GeneXpert instrument. In this study, we prospectively evaluated the change in the expression of the cartridge-based 3-gene signature following treatment initiation among pulmonary TB patients who were microbiologically cured at the end of treatment.

Results: The 3-gene signature expression level (TB score) changed significantly over time with respect to baseline among 31 pulmonary TB patients. The greatest increase in TB score occurred within the first month of treatment (median fold-increase in TB score: 1.08 [IQR 0.54-1.52]) and plateaued after 4 months of treatment (median TB score: 1.97 [IQR: 1.03-2.33]). The rapid and substantial increase of the TB score in the first month of treatment holds promise for the early identification of patients that respond to TB treatment. The plateau in TB score at 4 months may indicate early clearance of disease and could direct treatment to be shortened. These hypotheses need to be further explored with larger prospective treatment monitoring studies.

Keywords: Host transcriptional signature; Treatment monitoring; Tuberculosis.

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine
  • Humans
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis* / genetics
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tuberculosis* / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis* / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary* / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary* / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary* / genetics