Hermansen, Thomas Stig2; Thomsen, Vibeke Østergaard2; Lillebaek, Troels2; Ravn, Pernille4
1 Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet2 unknown3 Drug Research Academy B, Drug Research Academy, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Københavns Universitet4 Drug Research Academy B, Drug Research Academy, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Københavns Universitet
BACKGROUND: The QuantiFERON-TB-Gold Test (QFT) is more specific than the Mantoux skin-test to discriminate between Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) and non-tuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) infections. Here we study the performance of the QFT in patients with NTM disease. METHODS: From 2005 to 2011, nationwide patient data on positive NTM cultures (n = 925) were combined with nationwide data on QFT results (n = 16,133), both retrieved from the International Reference Laboratory of Mycobacteriology, Denmark. A total of 112 patients with NTM infections had a QFT performed, 53 patients had definite NTM disease, 10 had possible disease and 49 had NTM colonization. RESULTS: QFT was positive in 8% (4/53) of patients with definite disease, 40% (4/10) with possible disease and 31% (15/49) with colonization. Positivity rate was lowest among patients with definite disease infected with NTM without the RD1 region 4% (2/50). None of the 15 children with MAC lymphadenitis had a positive QFT. CONCLUSION: This study is one of the largest assessing IGRAs in patients with NTM disease in a TB low-incidence setting. Our study showed that the QFT holds potential to discriminate between NTM and MTB infections. We found no positive IGRA test results among children with NTM not sharing the RD1-region of MTB resulting in a 100% specificity and we suggest that a QFT in a child presenting with cervical lymphadenitis may be helpful in distinguishing NTM from TB lymphadenitis.