Comparison of the QuantiFERON-TB gold plus and QuantiFERON-TB gold in-tube interferon gamma release assays in patients at risk for tuberculosis and in health care workers

Elitza S. Theel, Heather Hilgart, Margaret Breen-Lyles, Kevin McCoy, Rhiannon Flury, Laura E. Breeher, John Wilson, Irene Gaw Sia, Jennifer A. Whitaker, Jeremy Clain, Timothy Aksamit, Patricio Escalantec

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21 Scopus citations


The QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus (QFT-Plus; Qiagen, Germantown, MD) interferon gamma release assay (IGRA) received FDA clearance in 2017 and will replace the prior version of the assay, the QFT-Gold In-Tube (QFT-GIT). Here, we compared performances of the QFT-Plus assay and the QFT-GIT version in a diverse patient population, including patients undergoing evaluation for or follow-up of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI; n= 39) or active TB infection (n= 3), and in health care workers (HCWs; n= 119) at Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN). Compared to the QFTGIT, the QFT-Plus assay showed 91.2% (31/34) positive, 98.4% (124/126) negative, and 96.6% (156/161) overall qualitative agreement among the 161 enrolled subjects, with a Cohen's kappa value of 0.91 (excellent interrater agreement). Among the 28 patients diagnosed with LTBI at the time of enrollment, the QFT-GIT and QFT-Plus assays agreed in 24 (85.7%) patients; in all four discordant patients, the positivity of the QFT-GIT or QFT-Plus IGRA was associated with low-level interferon gamma (IFN-γ) reactivity, ranging from 0.36 IU/ml to 0.66 IU/ml. Additionally, we document a high degree of correlation between IFN-γ levels in the QFT-GIT TB antigen tube and each of the two QFT-Plus TB antigen tubes, as well as between the QFT-Plus TB1 and TB2 tubes (Pearson's correlation coefficients [R]> 0.95). Overall, we show comparable results between the QFT-GIT and QFT-Plus assays in our study population composed of subjects presenting with a diverse spectrum of TB infections. Our findings suggest that the necessary transition to the QFT-Plus assay will be associated with a minimal difference in assay performance characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018



  • IGRA
  • LTBI
  • QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube
  • QuantiFERON-TB gold plus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)

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