Evaluation of a serum-based antigen test for tuberculosis in HIV-exposed infants: a diagnostic accuracy study

Liyan Mao, Sylvia M. LaCourse, Soyeon Kim, Chang Liu, Bo Ning, Duran Bao, Jia Fan, Christopher J. Lyon, Ziyong Sun, Sharon Nachman, Charles D. Mitchell, Tony Y. Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Non-sputum methods are urgently needed to improve tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment monitoring in children. This study evaluated the ability of a serum assay quantifying a species-specific peptide of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis CFP-10 virulence factor via nanotechnology and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry to diagnose tuberculosis in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected infants. Methods: Serum CFP-10 peptide signal was blinded evaluated in cryopreserved sera of 519 BCG-immunized, HIV-exposed infants (284 HIV-infected, 235 HIV-uninfected) from a multi-center randomized placebo-controlled isoniazid prophylaxis trial conducted in southern Africa between 2004 and 2008, who were followed up to 192 weeks for Mtb infection and TB. Children were classified as confirmed, unconfirmed, or unlikely tuberculosis cases using 2015 NIH diagnostic criteria for pediatric TB. Results: In HIV-infected infants, CFP-10 signal had 100% sensitivity for confirmed TB (5/5, 95% CI, 47.8–100) and 83.7% sensitivity for unconfirmed TB (36/43, 95% CI 69.3–93.2), with 93.1% specificity (203/218, 95% CI 88.9–96.1). In HIV-uninfected infants, CFP-10 signal detected the single confirmed TB case and 75.0% of unconfirmed TB cases (15/20; 95% CI 50.9–91.3), with 96.2% specificity (177/184, 95% CI, 92.3–98.5). Serum CFP-10 achieved 77% diagnostic sensitivity for confirmed and unconfirmed TB (13/17, 95% CI, 50–93%) at ≤ 24 weeks pre-diagnosis, and both CFP-10-positivity and concentration declined following anti-TB therapy initiation. Conclusions: Serum CFP-10 signal exhibited high diagnostic sensitivity and specificity for tuberculosis in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected infants and potential utility for early TB detection and monitoring of anti-TB treatment responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113
JournalBMC Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • CFP-10
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Nanotechnology
  • Pediatric tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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