Background: The early and accurate diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) is critical for controlling the global TB epidemic. Although early studies have supported the potential role of cytokine biomarkers in blood for the diagnosis of TB, this method requires further investigation and validation in different populations. A set of biomarkers that can discriminate between active TB (ATB) and latent TB infection (LTBI) remains elusive. Methods: In the current study, we organized two retrospective cohorts and one prospective cohort to investigate the immune responses at different clinical stages of TB infection, as determined by candidate cytokine biomarkers detected with a multiplex cytokine platform. Using a pre-established diagnostic algorithm, participants were classified as ATB, LTBI, and TB uninfected controls (CON). Based on our multiplex cytokine assay, a multi-cytokine biosignature was modelled for the optimal recognition of the different TB infection status. Results: Our analysis identified a six-cytokine biosignature of TB-antigen stimulated IFN-γ, IP-10, and IL-1Ra, and unstimulated IP-10, VEGF, and IL-12 (p70) for a biomarker screening group (n = 88). The diagnostic performance of the biosignature was then validated using a biomarker validation cohort (n = 216) and resulted in a sensitivity of 88.2% and a specificity of 92.1%. In a prospectively recruited clinical validation cohort (n = 194), the six-cytokine biosignature was further evaluated, and displayed a sensitivity of 85.7%, a specificity of 91.3% and an overall accuracy of 88.7%. Conclusions: We have identified a six-cytokine biosignature for accurately differentiating ATB patients from subjects with LTBI and CON. This approach holds promise as an early and rapid diagnostic test for ATB.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)