Serum-based diagnosis of pediatric tuberculosis by assay of mycobacterium tuberculosis factors: A retrospective cohort study

Yifan He, Christopher J. Lyon, Duc T. Nguyen, Chang Liu, Wei Sha, Edward A. Graviss, Tony Y. Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Diagnosis of pediatric tuberculosis (TB) is often complicated by its nonspecific symptoms, paucibacillary nature, and the need for invasive specimen collection techniques. However, a recently reported assay that detects Mycobacterium tuberculosis virulence factors in serum can diagnose various TB manifestations, including paucibacillary TB cases, in adults with good sensitivity and specificity. The current study examined the ability of this M. tuberculosis biomarker assay to diagnose pediatric TB using archived cryopreserved serum samples drawn from children #18years of age who were screened for suspected TB as part of a prospective population-based active surveillance study. In this analysis, any detectable level of either of the M. tuberculosis virulence factors CFP-10 and ESAT-6 was considered direct evidence of TB. Serum samples from 105 children evaluated for TB (55 TB cases and 50 close contacts without TB) were analyzed. The results of this analysis yielded sensitivity of 85.5% (95% confidence interval [CI], 73.3 to 93.5). Similar diagnostic sensitivities were observed for culture-positive (87.5%; 95% CI, 67.6 to 97.3) and culture-negative (83.9%; 95% CI, 66.3 to 94.5) TB cases and for culture negative pulmonary (77.8%; 95% CI, 40.0 to 97.2) and extrapulmonary (86.4%; 95% CI, 65.1 to 97.1) TB cases. These results suggest that serum biomarker analysis holds significant promise for rapid and sensitive diagnosis of pediatric TB cases, including extrapulmonary or paucibacillary TB cases. The ability to use frozen samples for this analysis should also permit assays to be performed at central sites, without a requirement for strict time-lines for sample analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01756-20
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Extrapulmonary TB
  • Nanodisk-MS
  • Pediatric TB
  • Serum-based assay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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