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Diagnosis of latent tuberculosis infection before initiation of anti-tumor necrosis factor therapy using both tuberculin skin test and QuantiFERON-TB Gold In Tube assay.

BACKGROUND: Reactivation of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) is an important complication in patients treated with tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) blocking agents. However, the best method for LTBI detection before initiation of anti-TNF therapy remains to be determined.

METHODS: From January 2010 to August 2013, anti-TNF therapy was initiated in 426 patients with immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs). Tuberculin skin test (TST) and Quantiferon-TB Gold In Tube (QFT-GIT) assay were performed before starting anti-TNF treatment. LTBI was defined as a positive TST (induration ≥ 10 mm) or as a positive QFT-GIT result. Patients were followed up until December 2013.

RESULTS: The positive TST and QFT-GIT rates were 22.3% (95/426) and 16.0% (68/426), respectively, yielding a total of 27.0% (115/426) of positive LTBI results. LTBI treatment was initiated in 25.1% (107/426) and was completed in 100% (107/107) of patients. During a median 294 days of follow-up, active TB occurred in 1.4% (6/426) of the patients with negative TST and QFT-GIT results at baseline.

CONCLUSION: The either test positive strategy, using both TST and QFT-GIT assay, is acceptable for LTBI screening before commencing anti-TNF therapy in patients with IMIDs.

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