Background: The diagnosis of pleural tuberculosis (TB) remains to be difficult. Interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA) is a promising method for diagnosing TB in low TB burden countries. The release of interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) by T lymphocytes increases at a localized site of infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigen. This study aimed to examine the clinical accuracy of T-SPOT.TB on pleural fluid and peripheral blood for the diagnosis of pleural TB in high TB burden country. Methods: 168 subjects with pleural effusion were enrolled prospectively and examined with T-SPOT.TB on pleural fluid and peripheral blood samples simultaneously. Results: The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve and cut-off value of pleural fluid T-SPOT.TB was established according to spot forming cells (SFC) between culture/biopsy-confirmed pleural TB group and no pleural TB group. The sensitivity of pleural fluid T-SPOT.TB and peripheral blood T-SPOT.TB was similar (96.3% and 92.7%, respectively) (P= 0.691). In contrast, the specificity of pleural fluid T-SPOT.TB (94.5%) was significantly higher than that of peripheral blood T-SPOT.TB (76.1%) (P=0.002). 2% (2/98) of pleural fluid T-SPOT.TB results were indeterminate. Conclusion: The diagnostic accuracy of peripheral blood T-SPOT.TB is low in high TB burden countries due to latent tuberculosis infection. Pleural fluid T-SPOT.TB is a relatively useful and supplementary test to explore pleural TB in high TB burden countries, but its diagnostic accuracy needs to be validated in further large scale research. © 2013 Liu, Gao.
Liu, F., Gao, M., Zhang, X., Du, F., Jia, H., Yang, X., … Zhang, Z. (2013). Interferon-gamma release assay performance of pleural fluid and peripheral blood in pleural tuberculosis. PLoS ONE, 8(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0083857