The new immunodiagnostic tests based on the Mycobacterium tuberculosis specific antigen, early secretory antigenic target 6 (ESAT-6) and culture filtrate protein 10 (CFP-10), showed promising results in the diagnosis of tuberculosis infection. However, there are only few studies in the published literature on performance tests in cerebrospinal fluid. We investigated whether a rapid diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis (TBM) could be established by interferon-γ blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tests in children.
We used the QuantiFERON-TB Gold in Tube test (QFT-IT) on blood and the QuantiFERON-TB Gold test (QFT-G) on the CSF of 63 subjects with TBM (including 25 case of definite TBM and 38 cases of probable TBM) and 62 controls.
The CSF analyses indicated possible TBM in 63.4% of cases. The sensitivity of the CSF culture for Mycobacterium tuberculosis was only 39.6%. The sensitivity of the tuberculin skin test (TST) was 49.2% and the specificity was 88.6%. The estimated sensitivities of the QFT-G for the CSF and QFT-IT for the blood in culture confirmed TBM cases (gold standard) were 84% and 80%, respectively. The estimated specificities were 98.2% for the CSF and 87.9% for the blood. This study showed that the sensitivity of QFT for the CSF could be higher than TST and culture and slightly higher in CSF than in blood. The specificity of QFT-G for the CSF was higher those of the TST, but the specificity of QFT-IT is lower.
QFT-G of the CSF is a useful diagnostic marker of tuberculosis that may improve the management of TBM, but the test results must be correlated with clinical, radiological and characteristics of CSF. New researches are needed to investigate the performance of QFT-G in the CSF compared with ELISPOT and PCR