Ultrasensitive detection of clostridioides difficile toxins in stool by use of single-molecule counting technology: Comparison with detection of free toxin by cell culture cytotoxicity neutralization assay

Glen Hansen, Stephen Young, Alan H.B. Wu, Emily Herding, Vickie Nordberg, Ray Mills, Christen Griego-Fullbright, Aaron Wagner, Chui Mei Ong, Shawna Lewis, Joseph Yoon, Joel Estis, Johanna Sandlund, Emily Friedland, Karen C. Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Laboratory tests for Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) rely on the detection of free toxin or molecular detection of toxin genes. The Singulex Clarity C. diff toxins A/B assay is a rapid, automated, and ultrasensitive assay that detects C. difficile toxins A and B in stool. We compared CDI assays across two prospective multicenter studies to set a cutoff for the Clarity assay and to independently validate the performance compared with that of a cell culture cytotoxicity neutralization assay (CCCNA). The cutoff was set by two sites testing fresh samples from 897 subjects with suspected CDI and then validated at four sites testing fresh samples from 1,005 subjects with suspected CDI. CCCNA testing was performed at a centralized laboratory. Samples with discrepant results between the Clarity assay and CCCNA were retested with CCCNA when the Clarity result agreed with that of at least one comparator method; toxin enzyme immunoassays (EIA), glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) detection, and PCR were performed on all samples. The cutoff for the Clarity assay was set at 12.0 pg/ml. Compared to results with CCCNA, the Clarity assay initially had 85.2% positive agreement and 92.4% negative agreement. However, when samples with discrepant results between the Clarity assay and CCCNA in the validation study were retested by CCCNA, 13/17 (76.5%) Clarity-negative but CCCNA-positive samples (Clarity+/CCCNA-) became CCCNA+, and 5/26 (19.2%) Clarity+/CCCNA- samples became CCCNA+, resulting in a 96.3% positive agreement and 93.0% negative agreement between Clarity and CCCNA results. The toxin EIA had 59.8% positive agreement with CCCNA. The Clarity assay was the most sensitive free-toxin immunoassay, capable of providing CDI diagnosis in a single-step solution. A different CCCNA result was reported for 42% of retested samples, increasing the positive agreement between Clarity and CCCNA from 85.2% to 96.3% and indicating the challenges of comparing free-toxin results to CCCNA results as a reference standard.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00719-19
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Volume57
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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Keywords

  • C. difficile
  • Single-molecule counting technology
  • Toxins A and B
  • Ultrasensitive
  • Ultrasensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)

Cite this

Hansen, G., Young, S., Wu, A. H. B., Herding, E., Nordberg, V., Mills, R., Griego-Fullbright, C., Wagner, A., Ong, C. M., Lewis, S., Yoon, J., Estis, J., Sandlund, J., Friedland, E., & Carroll, K. C. (2019). Ultrasensitive detection of clostridioides difficile toxins in stool by use of single-molecule counting technology: Comparison with detection of free toxin by cell culture cytotoxicity neutralization assay. Journal of clinical microbiology, 57(11), [e00719-19]. https://doi.org/10.1128/JCM.00719-19