Interferon-gamma release assays for latent tuberculosis infection in child and young adult candidates or recipients of tumor necrosis factor inhibitor therapy
Background. Inhibition of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is associated with progression of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) to active disease. LTBI screening prior to starting TNF inhibitor therapy is recommended. Blood tests, collectively known as interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs), offer a means other than the tuberculin skin test (TST) of screening for LTBI. However, in the setting of immune compromise, anergy may limit the clinical utility of IGRAs. Methods. A cross-sectional study was conducted in children and young adults ≤ 21 years of age who were cared for at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, TX, during 2011 and who were candidates for, or were receiving, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-inhibitor therapy. All subjects answered a risk factor questionnaire and were tested for LTBI by two commercially available IGRAs (QuantiFERON-Gold In-Tube assay and the T-SPOT.TB assay), along with the TST. T-cell phenotypes were evaluated through flow cytometry, both at baseline and after antigen stimulation. Results. Twenty-eight subjects were enrolled. All were TST negative and none were IGRA positive. Results were negative for the 27 subjects who were tested with QuantiFERON-Gold In-Tube. However, 26% of subjects demonstrated anergy in the T-SPOT.T. Patients with T-SPOT. TB anergy had lower quantitative IFN-γ responses to mitogen in the QFT assay—the mean IFN-γ level to mitogen in patients without T-SPOT.TB anergy was 9.84 IU/ml compared to 6.91 IU/ml in patients with T-SPOT.TB anergy (P = 0.046). Age and use of TNF inhibitors, corticosteroids, or methotrexate use were not significantly associated with T-SPOT.TB anergy. Antigen stimulation revealed depressed expression of intracellular IFN-γ in subjects with T-SPOT. TB anergy. Conclusions. The frequency of anergy in this population is higher than would be expected from studies in adults. There appears to be inappropriate IFN-γ responses to antigen in subjects with T-SPOT. TB anergy. This immune defect was detected by the T-SPOT. TB assay but not by the QuantiFERON-Gold In-Tube assay. Further data are needed to clarify the utility of IGRAs in this population.
Marquez, Lucila, "Interferon-gamma release assays for latent tuberculosis infection in child and young adult candidates or recipients of tumor necrosis factor inhibitor therapy" (2012). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1511923.