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Korean J Lab Med. 2010 Apr;30(2):171-177. Korean. Original Article.
Kim HS , Kim CH , Hur M , Hyun IG , Park MJ , Song W , Park JY , Kang HJ , Lee KM .
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Hallym University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Internal Medicine, Hallym University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Konkuk University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

BACKGROUND: Tuberculosis-specific ELISPOT assay (T-SPOT.TB, Oxford Immunotec, UK) is a test that detects interferon-gamma producing T-cells after stimulating patient's lymphocytes with two kinds of tuberculosis-specific antigens (ESAT-6 and CFP-10). We evaluated clinical usefulness of T-SPOT.TB test in Korean adults with intermediate burden of tuberculosis and high rate of BCG vaccination at birth. METHODS: T-SPOT.TB test was performed in 79 patients and 64 healthy volunteers and these patients and volunteers were classified into four groups: group 1, patients with active tuberculosis (n=30); group 2, patients with not-active tuberculosis (n=27); group 3, patients without tuberculosis (n=24); group 4, healthy volunteers without tuberculosis history (n=62). Positive rates and average spot counts of T-SPOT.TB test were obtained among these groups. RESULTS: Positive rates of group 1 (96.4%) and group 2 (92.3%) were higher than those of group 3 (31.6%) and group 4 (27.4%) (P<0.0001). The sensitivity deduced from group 1 and specificity deduced from group 4 of T-SPOT.TB test were 96.4% and 72.6%, respectively. The average spot counts of group 1 and 2 were higher than those of group 3 and 4 (P<0.001). There was a tendency of increasing positive rate with increasing age. Overall agreement between T-SPOT.TB test and tuberculin skin test was 63.8% (kappa=0.29). CONCLUSIONS: T-SPOT.TB test would be a very useful screening and supplementary test for diagnosis of tuberculosis due to its high sensitivity. However, positive results of T-SPOT.TB should be cautiously interpreted because of high positivity in treated tuberculosis patients and healthy volunteers in Korea.

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