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QuantiFERON-CMV assay by chemiluminescence immunoassay: Is it more suitable for real-live monitoring of transplant patients?

BACKGROUND: The QuantiFERONCMV (QF-CMV) assay is an interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA) used to monitor CMV-specific cell-mediated immunity (CMV-CMI) by ELISA in transplant patients. However, a chemiluminescent immunoassay (CLIA) has been developed to quantify IFNG in the QuantiFERON-Tuberculosis (TB) to detect latent TB infection.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this work is to compare the results of QF-CMV by ELISA with those obtained by CLIA in an automated Liaison XL analyzer using the QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus reagents.

STUDY DESIGN: The QF-CMV assay had been performed by ELISA in kidney and lung transplant patients between July 2019-April 2023 at the IMIBIC/Reina Sofía Hospital (Cordoba, Spain). The remaining QF-CMV supernatants had been preserved at -80 ºC from then. Now, the IFNG levels in the same samples were determined by CLIA.

RESULTS: One hundred and three QF-CMV supernatants from kidney (n = 50) and lung (n = 53) transplant patients were selected. An agreement of 87.4 % (kappa coefficient 0.788) between CLIA and ELISA was observed. Thirteen (12.6 %) discrepant results were detected. Some Indeterminate results by ELISA converted to Non-reactive by CLIA (0.53-0.92 IU/mL for Mitogen-Nil values). Likewise, borderline Non-reactive results by ELISA were above the 0.2 IU/mL cut-off by CLIA and then were Reactive (0.21-0.31 for CMV-Nil values).

CONCLUSION: CLIA shows substantial concordance with ELISA and acceptable discrepancies. The possible higher sensitivity of CLIA returns a higher number of Reactive results, which entails potential clinical consequences. Therefore, a new threshold to confer protection against CMV infection after transplantation needs to be defined.

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