Publications by authors named "Stephanus T Malherbe"

34 Publications

Targeting of myeloid-derived suppressor cells by all-trans retinoic acid as host-directed therapy for human tuberculosis.

Cell Immunol 2021 Jun 8;364:104359. Epub 2021 Apr 8.

DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Tuberculosis Research, South African Medical Research Council Centre for Tuberculosis Research, Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa. Electronic address:

Conventional anti-tuberculosis (TB) therapies comprise lengthy antibiotic treatment regimens, exacerbated by multi-drug resistant and extensively drug resistant mycobacterial strains. We assessed the ability of all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), as repurposed compound serving as host-directed therapy (HDT), to counteract the suppressive effects of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) obtained from active TB cases (untreated or during week one of treatment) on T-cell responsiveness. We show for the first time that MDSCs suppress non-specific T-cell activation and production of interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, IL-13 and GM-CSF via contact-dependent mechanisms. ATRA treatment decreases MDSC frequency, but fails to mature MDSCs to non-suppressive, terminally differentiated myeloid cells and does not restore T-cell function or cytokine production in the presence of MDSCs. The impact of ATRA treatment on improved immunity, using the concentration tested here, is likely to be minimal, but further identification and development of MDSC-targeting TB host-directed therapies are warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cellimm.2021.104359DOI Listing
June 2021

Validation of a host blood transcriptomic biomarker for pulmonary tuberculosis in people living with HIV: a prospective diagnostic and prognostic accuracy study.

Lancet Glob Health 2021 Apr 13. Epub 2021 Apr 13.

South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, Division of Immunology, Department of Pathology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa. Electronic address:

Background: A rapid, blood-based triage test that allows targeted investigation for tuberculosis at the point of care could shorten the time to tuberculosis treatment and reduce mortality. We aimed to test the performance of a host blood transcriptomic signature (RISK11) in diagnosing tuberculosis and predicting progression to active pulmonary disease (prognosis) in people with HIV in a community setting.

Methods: In this prospective diagnostic and prognostic accuracy study, adults (aged 18-59 years) with HIV were recruited from five communities in South Africa. Individuals with a history of tuberculosis or household exposure to multidrug-resistant tuberculosis within the past 3 years, comorbid risk factors for tuberculosis, or any condition that would interfere with the study were excluded. RISK11 status was assessed at baseline by real-time PCR; participants and study staff were masked to the result. Participants underwent active surveillance for microbiologically confirmed tuberculosis by providing spontaneously expectorated sputum samples at baseline, if symptomatic during 15 months of follow-up, and at 15 months (the end of the study). The coprimary outcomes were the prevalence and cumulative incidence of tuberculosis disease confirmed by a positive Xpert MTB/RIF, Xpert Ultra, or Mycobacteria Growth Indicator Tube culture, or a combination of such, on at least two separate sputum samples collected within any 30-day period.

Findings: Between March 22, 2017, and May 15, 2018, 963 participants were assessed for eligibility and 861 were enrolled. Among 820 participants with valid RISK11 results, eight (1%) had prevalent tuberculosis at baseline: seven (2·5%; 95% CI 1·2-5·0) of 285 RISK11-positive participants and one (0·2%; 0·0-1·1) of 535 RISK11-negative participants. The relative risk (RR) of prevalent tuberculosis was 13·1 times (95% CI 2·1-81·6) greater in RISK11-positive participants than in RISK11-negative participants. RISK11 had a diagnostic area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of 88·2% (95% CI 77·6-96·7), and a sensitivity of 87·5% (58·3-100·0) and specificity of 65·8% (62·5-69·0) at a predefined score threshold (60%). Of those with RISK11 results, eight had primary endpoint incident tuberculosis during 15 months of follow-up. Tuberculosis incidence was 2·5 per 100 person-years (95% CI 0·7-4·4) in the RISK11-positive group and 0·2 per 100 person-years (0·0-0·5) in the RISK11-negative group. The probability of primary endpoint incident tuberculosis was greater in the RISK11-positive group than in the RISK11-negative group (cumulative incidence ratio 16·0 [95% CI 2·0-129·5]). RISK11 had a prognostic AUC of 80·0% (95% CI 70·6-86·9), and a sensitivity of 88·6% (43·5-98·7) and a specificity of 68·9% (65·3-72·3) for incident tuberculosis at the 60% threshold.

Interpretation: RISK11 identified prevalent tuberculosis and predicted risk of progression to incident tuberculosis within 15 months in ambulant people living with HIV. RISK11's performance approached, but did not meet, WHO's target product profile benchmarks for screening and prognostic tests for tuberculosis.

Funding: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the South African Medical Research Council.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(21)00045-0DOI Listing
April 2021

Validation and Optimization of Host Immunological Bio-Signatures for a Point-of-Care Test for TB Disease.

Front Immunol 2021 26;12:607827. Epub 2021 Feb 26.

Department of Science and Innovation - National Research Foundation (DSI-NRF) Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Tuberculosis Research, South African Medical Research Council Centre for Tuberculosis Research, Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa.

The development of a non-sputum-based, point-of-care diagnostic test for tuberculosis (TB) is a priority in the global effort to combat this disease, particularly in resource-constrained settings. Previous studies have identified host biomarker signatures which showed potential, but there is a need to validate and refine these for development as a test. We recruited 1,403 adults presenting with symptoms suggestive of pulmonary TB at primary healthcare clinics in six countries from West, East and Southern Africa. Of the study cohort, 326 were diagnosed with TB and 787 with other respiratory diseases, from whom we randomly selected 1005 participants. Using Luminex technology, we measured the levels of 20 host biomarkers in serum samples which we used to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of previously identified and novel bio-signatures. Our previously identified seven-marker bio-signature did not perform well (sensitivity: 89%, specificity: 60%). We also identified an optimal, two-marker bio-signature with a sensitivity of 94% and specificity of 69% in patients with no history of previous TB. This signature performed slightly better than C-reactive protein (CRP) alone. The cut-off value for a positive diagnosis differed for human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV)-positive and -negative individuals. Notably, we also found that no signature was able to diagnose TB adequately in patients with a prior history of the disease. We have identified a two-marker, pan-African bio-signature which is more robust than CRP alone and meets the World Health Organization (WHO) target product profile requirements for a triage test in both HIV-negative and HIV-positive individuals. This signature could be incorporated into a point-of-care device, greatly reducing the necessity for expensive confirmatory diagnostics and potentially reducing the number of cases currently lost to follow-up. It might also potentially be useful with individuals unable to provide sputum or with paucibacillary disease. We suggest that the performance of TB diagnostic signatures can be improved by incorporating the HIV-status of the patient. We further suggest that only patients who have never had TB be subjected to a triage test and that those with a history of previous TB be evaluated using more direct diagnostic techniques.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.607827DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7952865PMC
February 2021

The Peripheral Blood Transcriptome Is Correlated With PET Measures of Lung Inflammation During Successful Tuberculosis Treatment.

Front Immunol 2020 10;11:596173. Epub 2021 Feb 10.

Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa.

Pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) is characterized by lung granulomas, inflammation and tissue destruction. Here we used within-subject peripheral blood gene expression over time to correlate with the within-subject lung metabolic activity, as measured by positron emission tomography (PET) to identify biological processes and pathways underlying overall resolution of lung inflammation. We used next-generation RNA sequencing and [F]FDG PET-CT data, collected at diagnosis, week 4, and week 24, from 75 successfully cured PTB patients, with the [F]FDG activity as a surrogate for lung inflammation. Our linear mixed-effects models required that for each individual the slope of the line of [F]FDG data in the outcome and the slope of the peripheral blood transcript expression data correlate, i.e., the slopes of the outcome and explanatory variables had to be similar. Of 10,295 genes that changed as a function of time, we identified 639 genes whose expression profiles correlated with decreasing [F]FDG uptake levels in the lungs. Gene enrichment over-representation analysis revealed that numerous biological processes were significantly enriched in the 639 genes, including several well known in TB transcriptomics such as platelet degranulation and response to interferon gamma, thus validating our novel approach. Others not previously associated with TB pathobiology included smooth muscle contraction, a set of pathways related to mitochondrial function and cell death, as well as a set of pathways connecting transcription, translation and vesicle formation. We observed up-regulation in genes associated with B cells, and down-regulation in genes associated with platelet activation. We found 254 transcription factor binding sites to be enriched among the 639 gene promoters. In conclusion, we demonstrated that of the 10,295 gene expression changes in peripheral blood, only a subset of 639 genes correlated with inflammation in the lungs, and the enriched pathways provide a description of the biology of resolution of lung inflammation as detectable in peripheral blood. Surprisingly, resolution of PTB inflammation is positively correlated with smooth muscle contraction and, extending our previous observation on mitochondrial genes, shows the presence of mitochondrial stress. We focused on pathway analysis which can enable therapeutic target discovery and potential modulation of the host response to TB.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.596173DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7902901PMC
February 2021

Higher SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in workers with lower socioeconomic status in Cape Town, South Africa.

PLoS One 2021 25;16(2):e0247852. Epub 2021 Feb 25.

DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Tuberculosis Research, South African Medical Research Council Centre for Tuberculosis Research, Department of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa.

Background: Inequality is rife throughout South Africa. The first wave of COVID-19 may have affected people in lower socioeconomic groups worse than the affluent. The SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence and the specificity of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests in South Africa is not known.

Methods: We tested 405 volunteers representing all socioeconomic strata from the workforce of a popular shopping and tourist complex in central Cape Town with the Abbott SARS-CoV-2 IgG assay. We assessed the association between antibody positivity and COVID-19 symptom status, medical history, and sociodemographic variables. We tested 137 serum samples from healthy controls collected in Cape Town prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, to confirm the specificity of the assay in the local population.

Results: Of the 405 volunteers tested one month after the first peak of the epidemic in Cape Town, 96(23.7%) were SARS-CoV-2 IgG positive. Of those who tested positive, 46(47.9%) reported no symptoms of COVID-19 in the previous 6 months. Seropositivity was significantly associated with living in informal housing, residing in a subdistrict with low income-per household, and having a low-earning occupation. The specificity of the assay was 98.54%(95%CI 94.82%-99.82%) in the pre-COVID controls.

Conclusions: There is a high background seroprevalence in Cape Town, particularly in people of lower socioeconomic status. Almost half of cases are asymptomatic, and therefore undiagnosed by local testing strategies. These results cannot be explained by low assay specificity.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0247852PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7906413PMC
March 2021

Fourteen-day PET/CT imaging to monitor drug combination activity in treated individuals with tuberculosis.

Sci Transl Med 2021 Feb;13(579)

Tuberculosis Research Section, Laboratory of Clinical Immunology and Microbiology, Division of Intramural Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.

Early bactericidal activity studies monitor daily sputum bacterial counts in individuals with tuberculosis (TB) for 14 days during experimental drug treatment. The rate of change in sputum bacterial load over time provides an informative, but imperfect, estimate of drug activity and is considered a critical step in development of new TB drugs. In this clinical study, 160 participants with TB received isoniazid, pyrazinamide, or rifampicin, components of first-line chemotherapy, and moxifloxacin individually and in combination. In addition to standard bacterial enumeration in sputum, participants underwent 2-deoxy-2-[F]fluoro-d-glucose positron emission tomography and computerized tomography ([F]FDG-PET/CT) at the beginning and end of the 14-day drug treatment. Quantitating radiological responses to drug treatment provided comparative single and combination drug activity measures across lung lesion types that correlated more closely with established clinical outcomes when combined with sputum enumeration compared to sputum enumeration alone. Rifampicin and rifampicin-containing drug combinations were most effective in reducing both lung lesion volume measured by CT imaging and lesion-associated inflammation measured by PET imaging. Moxifloxacin was not superior to rifampicin in any measure by PET/CT imaging, consistent with its performance in recent phase 3 clinical trials. PET/CT imaging revealed synergy between isoniazid and pyrazinamide and demonstrated that the activity of pyrazinamide was limited to lung lesion, showing the highest FDG uptake during the first 2 weeks of drug treatment. [F]FDG-PET/CT imaging may be useful for measuring the activity of single drugs and drug combinations during evaluation of potential new TB drug regimens before phase 3 trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.abd7618DOI Listing
February 2021

Biomarker-guided tuberculosis preventive therapy (CORTIS): a randomised controlled trial.

Lancet Infect Dis 2021 03 25;21(3):354-365. Epub 2021 Jan 25.

South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, Division of Immunology, Department of Pathology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa. Electronic address:

Background: Targeted preventive therapy for individuals at highest risk of incident tuberculosis might impact the epidemic by interrupting transmission. We tested performance of a transcriptomic signature of tuberculosis (RISK11) and efficacy of signature-guided preventive therapy in parallel, using a hybrid three-group study design.

Methods: Adult volunteers aged 18-59 years were recruited at five geographically distinct communities in South Africa. Whole blood was sampled for RISK11 by quantitative RT-PCR assay from eligible volunteers without HIV, recent previous tuberculosis (ie, <3 years before screening), or comorbidities at screening. RISK11-positive participants were block randomised (1:2; block size 15) to once-weekly, directly-observed, open-label isoniazid and rifapentine for 12 weeks (ie, RISK11 positive and 3HP positive), or no treatment (ie, RISK11 positive and 3HP negative). A subset of eligible RISK11-negative volunteers were randomly assigned to no treatment (ie, RISK11 negative and 3HP negative). Diagnostic discrimination of prevalent tuberculosis was tested in all participants at baseline. Thereafter, prognostic discrimination of incident tuberculosis was tested in the untreated RISK11-positive versus RISK11-negative groups, and treatment efficacy in the 3HP-treated versus untreated RISK11-positive groups, during active surveillance through 15 months. The primary endpoint was microbiologically confirmed pulmonary tuberculosis. The primary outcome measures were risk ratio [RR] for tuberculosis of RISK11-positive to RISK11-negative participants, and treatment efficacy. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02735590.

Findings: 20 207 volunteers were screened, and 2923 participants were enrolled, including RISK11-positive participants randomly assigned to 3HP (n=375) or no 3HP (n=764), and 1784 RISK11-negative participants. Cumulative probability of prevalent or incident tuberculosis disease was 0·066 (95% CI 0·049 to 0·084) in RISK11-positive (3HP negative) participants and 0·018 (0·011 to 0·025) in RISK11-negative participants (RR 3·69, 95% CI 2·25-6·05) over 15 months. Tuberculosis prevalence was 47 (4·1%) of 1139 versus 14 (0·78%) of 1984 in RISK11-positive compared with RISK11-negative participants, respectively (diagnostic RR 5·13, 95% CI 2·93 to 9·43). Tuberculosis incidence over 15 months was 2·09 (95% CI 0·97 to 3·19) vs 0·80 (0·30 to 1·30) per 100 person years in RISK11-positive (3HP-negative) participants compared with RISK11-negative participants (cumulative incidence ratio 2·6, 95% CI 1·2 to 5·9). Serious adverse events related to 3HP included one hospitalisation for seizures (unintentional isoniazid overdose) and one death of unknown cause (possibly temporally related). Tuberculosis incidence over 15 months was 1·94 (95% CI 0·35 to 3·50) versus 2·09 (95% CI 0·97 to 3·19) per 100 person-years in 3HP-treated RISK11-positive participants compared with untreated RISK11-positive participants (efficacy 7·0%, 95% CI -145 to 65).

Interpretation: The RISK11 signature discriminated between individuals with prevalent tuberculosis, or progression to incident tuberculosis, and individuals who remained healthy, but provision of 3HP to signature-positive individuals after exclusion of baseline disease did not reduce progression to tuberculosis over 15 months.

Funding: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, South African Medical Research Council.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(20)30914-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7907670PMC
March 2021

Screening diabetes mellitus patients for pulmonary tuberculosis: a multisite study in Indonesia, Peru, Romania and South Africa.

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 2020 Oct 28. Epub 2020 Oct 28.

Centre for International Health, University of Otago Medical School, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Background: Diabetes mellitus (DM) patients are three times more likely to develop tuberculosis (TB) than the general population. Active TB screening in people with DM is part of a bidirectional approach. The aim of this study was to conduct pragmatic active TB screening among DM patients in four countries to inform policy.

Methods: DM patients were recruited in Indonesia (n=809), Peru (n=600), Romania (n=603) and South Africa (n=51). TB cases were diagnosed using an algorithm including clinical symptoms and chest X-ray. Presumptive TB patients were examined with sputum smear and culture.

Results: A total of 171 (8.3%) individuals reported ever having had TB (South Africa, 26%; Indonesia, 12%; Peru, 7%; Romania, 4%), 15 of whom were already on TB treatment. Overall, 14 (0.73% [95% confidence interval 0.40 to 1.23]) TB cases were identified from screening. Poor glucose control, smoking, lower body mass index, education and socio-economic status were associated with newly diagnosed/current TB. Thirteen of the 14 TB cases diagnosed from this screening would have been found using a symptom-based approach.

Conclusions: These data support the World Health Organization recommendation for routine symptom-based screening for TB in known DM patients in high TB-burden countries. DM patients with any symptoms consistent with TB should be investigated and diagnostic tools should be easily accessible.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/trstmh/traa100DOI Listing
October 2020

Investigating Non-sterilizing Cure in TB Patients at the End of Successful Anti-TB Therapy.

Front Cell Infect Microbiol 2020 25;10:443. Epub 2020 Aug 25.

Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation, Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Tuberculosis Research and South African Medical Research Council Centre for Tuberculosis Research, Cape Town, South Africa.

(Mtb) is extremely recalcitrant to antimicrobial chemotherapy requiring 6 months to treat drug-sensitive tuberculosis (TB). Despite this, 4-10% of cured patients will develop recurrent disease within 12 months after completing therapy. Reasons for relapse in cured TB patients remains speculative, attributed to both pathogen and host factors. Populations of dormant bacilli are hypothesized to cause relapse in initially cured TB patients however, development of tests to convincingly demonstrate their presence at the end of anti-TB treatment has been challenging. Previous studies have indicated the utility of culture filtrate supplemented media (CFSM) to detect differentially culturable tubercle bacilli (DCTB). Here, we show that 3/22 of clinically cured patients retained DCTB in induced sputum and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), with one DCTB positive patient relapsing within the first year of completing therapy. We also show a correlation of DCTB status with "unresolved" end of treatment FDG PET-CT imaging. Additionally, 19 end of treatment induced sputum samples from patients not undergoing bronchoscopy were assessed for DCTB, identifying a further relapse case with DCTB. We further show that induced sputum is a less reliable source for the DCTB assay at the end of treatment, limiting the utility of this assay in a clinical setting. We next investigated the host proteome at the site of disease (BALF) using multiplexed proteomic analysis and compared these to active TB cases to identify host-specific factors indicative of cure. Distinct signatures stratified active from cured TB patients into distinct groups, with a DCTB positive, subsequently relapsing, end of treatment patient showing a proteomic signature closer to active TB disease than cure. This exploratory study offers evidence of live Mtb, undetectable with conventional culture methods, at the end of clinically successful treatment and putative host protein biomarkers of active disease and cure. These findings have implications for the assessment of true sterilizing cure in TB patients and opens new avenues for targeted approaches to monitor treatment response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcimb.2020.00443DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7477326PMC
August 2020

Host urine immunological biomarkers as potential candidates for the diagnosis of tuberculosis.

Int J Infect Dis 2020 Oct 12;99:473-481. Epub 2020 Aug 12.

DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Tuberculosis Research, South African Medical Research Council Centre for Tuberculosis Research, Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, P.O. Box 241, Cape Town 8000, South Africa. Electronic address:

Objective: To investigate the potential of host urinary biomarkers as diagnostic candidates for tuberculosis (TB).

Methods: Adults self-presenting with symptoms requiring further investigation for TB were enrolled in Cape Town, South Africa. Participants were later classified as having TB or other respiratory diseases (ORD) using results from TB confirmatory tests. The concentrations of 29 analytes were evaluated in urine samples from participants using the Luminex platform, and their diagnostic potential was assessed using standard statistical approaches.

Results: Of the 151 study participants, 34 (22.5%) were diagnosed with TB and 26 (17.2%) were HIV-positive. Seven biomarkers showed potential as TB diagnostic candidates, with accuracy improving (in HIV-positives) when stratified according to HIV status (area under the receiver operating characteristics curve; AUC ≥0.80). In HIV-positive participants, a four-marker biosignature (sIL6R, MMP-9, IL-2Ra, IFN-γ) diagnosed TB with AUC of 0.96, sensitivity of 85.7% (95% confidence interval (CI) 42.1-99.6%), and specificity of 94.7% (95% CI 74.0-99.9%). In HIV-negatives, the most promising was a two-marker biosignature (sIL6R and sIL-2Ra), which diagnosed TB with AUC of 0.76, sensitivity of 53.9% (95% CI 33.4-73.4%), and specificity of 79.6% (95% CI 70.3-87.1%).

Conclusions: Urinary host inflammatory biomarkers possess TB diagnostic potential but may be influenced by HIV infection. The results of this study require validation in larger studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2020.08.019DOI Listing
October 2020

Combining host-derived biomarkers with patient characteristics improves signature performance in predicting tuberculosis treatment outcomes.

Commun Biol 2020 Jul 9;3(1):359. Epub 2020 Jul 9.

Department of Clinical Science, Faculty of Medicine, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a global health concern. Treatment is prolonged, and patients on anti-TB therapy (ATT) often experience treatment failure for various reasons. There is an urgent need to identify signatures for early detection of failure and initiation of a treatment switch.We investigated how gene biomarkers and/or basic patient characteristics could be used to define signatures for treatment outcomes in Indian adult pulmonary-TB patients treated with standard ATT. Using blood samples at baseline, a 12-gene signature combined with information on gender, previously-diagnosed TB, severe thinness, smoking and alcohol consumption was highly predictive of treatment failure at 6 months. Likewise a 4-protein biomarker signature combined with the same patient characteristics was almost as highly predictive of treatment failure. Combining biomarkers and basic patient characteristics may be useful for predicting and hence identification of treatment failure at an early stage of TB therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s42003-020-1087-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7347567PMC
July 2020

Impact of Intermediate Hyperglycemia and Diabetes on Immune Dysfunction in Tuberculosis.

Clin Infect Dis 2021 01;72(1):69-78

Tuberculosis Centre and Department of Infection and Biology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom.

Background: People with diabetes have an increased risk of developing active tuberculosis (TB) and are more likely to have poor TB-treatment outcomes, which may impact on control of TB as the prevalence of diabetes is increasing worldwide. Blood transcriptomes are altered in patients with active TB relative to healthy individuals. The effects of diabetes and intermediate hyperglycemia (IH) on this transcriptomic signature were investigated to enhance understanding of immunological susceptibility in diabetes-TB comorbidity.

Methods: Whole blood samples were collected from active TB patients with diabetes (glycated hemoglobin [HbA1c] ≥6.5%) or IH (HbA1c = 5.7% to <6.5%), TB-only patients, and healthy controls in 4 countries: South Africa, Romania, Indonesia, and Peru. Differential blood gene expression was determined by RNA-seq (n = 249).

Results: Diabetes increased the magnitude of gene expression change in the host transcriptome in TB, notably showing an increase in genes associated with innate inflammatory and decrease in adaptive immune responses. Strikingly, patients with IH and TB exhibited blood transcriptomes much more similar to patients with diabetes-TB than to patients with only TB. Both diabetes-TB and IH-TB patients had a decreased type I interferon response relative to TB-only patients.

Conclusions: Comorbidity in individuals with both TB and diabetes is associated with altered transcriptomes, with an expected enhanced inflammation in the presence of both conditions, but also reduced type I interferon responses in comorbid patients, suggesting an unexpected uncoupling of the TB transcriptome phenotype. These immunological dysfunctions are also present in individuals with IH, showing that altered immunity to TB may also be present in this group. The TB disease outcomes in individuals with IH diagnosed with TB should be investigated further.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa751DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7823074PMC
January 2021

RISK6, a 6-gene transcriptomic signature of TB disease risk, diagnosis and treatment response.

Sci Rep 2020 05 25;10(1):8629. Epub 2020 May 25.

South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine and Division of Immunology, Department of Pathology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

Improved tuberculosis diagnostics and tools for monitoring treatment response are urgently needed. We developed a robust and simple, PCR-based host-blood transcriptomic signature, RISK6, for multiple applications: identifying individuals at risk of incident disease, as a screening test for subclinical or clinical tuberculosis, and for monitoring tuberculosis treatment. RISK6 utility was validated by blind prediction using quantitative real-time (qRT) PCR in seven independent cohorts. Prognostic performance significantly exceeded that of previous signatures discovered in the same cohort. Performance for diagnosing subclinical and clinical disease in HIV-uninfected and HIV-infected persons, assessed by area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve, exceeded 85%. As a screening test for tuberculosis, the sensitivity at 90% specificity met or approached the benchmarks set out in World Health Organization target product profiles for non-sputum-based tests. RISK6 scores correlated with lung immunopathology activity, measured by positron emission tomography, and tracked treatment response, demonstrating utility as treatment response biomarker, while predicting treatment failure prior to treatment initiation. Performance of the test in capillary blood samples collected by finger-prick was noninferior to venous blood collected in PAXgene tubes. These results support incorporation of RISK6 into rapid, capillary blood-based point-of-care PCR devices for prospective assessment in field studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-65043-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7248089PMC
May 2020

Expression and production of the SERPING1-encoded endogenous complement regulator C1-inhibitor in multiple cohorts of tuberculosis patients.

Mol Immunol 2020 04 13;120:187-195. Epub 2020 Mar 13.

Department of Immunohematology and Blood Transfusion, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands. Electronic address:

Background: To facilitate better discrimination between patients with active tuberculosis (TB) and latent TB infection (LTBI), whole blood transcriptomic studies have been performed to identify novel candidate host biomarkers. SERPING1, which encodes C1-inhibitor (C1-INH), the natural inhibitor of the C1-complex has emerged as candidate biomarker. Here we collated and analysed SERPING1 expression data and subsequently determined C1-INH protein levels in four cohorts of patients with TB.

Methods: SERPING1 expression data were extracted from online deposited datasets. C1-INH protein levels were determined by ELISA in sera from individuals with active TB, LTBI as well as other disease controls in geographically diverse cohorts.

Findings: SERPING1 expression was increased in patients with active TB compared to healthy controls (8/11 cohorts), LTBI (13/14 cohorts) and patients with other (non-TB) lung-diseases (7/7 cohorts). Serum levels of C1-INH were significantly increased in The Gambia and Italy in patients with active TB relative to the endemic controls but not in South Africa or Korea. In the largest cohort (n = 50), with samples collected longitudinally, normalization of C1-INH levels following successful TB treatment was observed. This cohort, also showed the most abundant increase in C1-INH, and a positive correlation between C1q and C1-INH levels. Combined presence of increased levels of both C1q and C1-INH had high specificity for active TB (96 %) but only very modest sensitivity 38 % compared to the endemic controls.

Interpretation: SERPING1 transcript expression is increased in TB patients, while serum protein levels of C1-INH were increased in half of the cohorts analysed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molimm.2020.02.006DOI Listing
April 2020

Quantitative 18F-FDG PET-CT scan characteristics correlate with tuberculosis treatment response.

EJNMMI Res 2020 Feb 10;10(1). Epub 2020 Feb 10.

Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation, Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Tuberculosis Research and South African Medical Research Council Centre for Tuberculosis Research, Cape Town, South Africa.

Background: There is a growing interest in the use of F-18 FDG PET-CT to monitor tuberculosis (TB) treatment response. Tuberculosis lung lesions are often complex and diffuse, with dynamic changes during treatment and persisting metabolic activity after apparent clinical cure. This poses a challenge in quantifying scan-based markers of burden of disease and disease activity. We used semi-automated, whole lung quantification of lung lesions to analyse serial FDG PET-CT scans from the Catalysis TB Treatment Response Cohort to identify characteristics that best correlated with clinical and microbiological outcomes.

Results: Quantified scan metrics were already associated with clinical outcomes at diagnosis and 1 month after treatment, with further improved accuracy to differentiate clinical outcomes after standard treatment duration (month 6). A high cavity volume showed the strongest association with a risk of treatment failure (AUC 0.81 to predict failure at diagnosis), while a suboptimal reduction of the total glycolytic activity in lung lesions during treatment had the strongest association with recurrent disease (AUC 0.8 to predict pooled unfavourable outcomes). During the first year after TB treatment lesion burden reduced; but for many patients, there were continued dynamic changes of individual lesions.

Conclusions: Quantification of FDG PET-CT images better characterised TB treatment outcomes than qualitative scan patterns and robustly measured the burden of disease. In future, validated metrics may be used to stratify patients and help evaluate the effectiveness of TB treatment modalities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13550-020-0591-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7010890PMC
February 2020

Prospective evaluation of host biomarkers other than interferon gamma in QuantiFERON Plus supernatants as candidates for the diagnosis of tuberculosis in symptomatic individuals.

J Infect 2019 09 15;79(3):228-235. Epub 2019 Jul 15.

DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Tuberculosis Research, South African Medical Research Council Centre for Tuberculosis Research, Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Po Box 241, Cape Town 8000, South Africa. Electronic address:

Background: There is an urgent need for new tools for the diagnosis of TB. We evaluated the usefulness recently described host biomarkers in supernatants from the newest generation of the QuantiFERON test (QuantiFERON Plus) as tools for the diagnosis of active TB.

Methods: We recruited individuals presenting at primary health care clinics in Cape Town, South Africa with symptoms requiring investigation for TB disease, prior to the establishment of a clinical diagnosis. Participants were later classified as TB or other respiratory diseases (ORD) based on the results of clinical and laboratory tests. Using a multiplex platform, we evaluated the concentrations of 37 host biomarkers in QuantiFERON Plus supernatants from study participants as tools for the diagnosis of TB.

Results: Out of 120 study participants, 35(29.2%) were diagnosed with active TB, 69(57.5%) with ORD whereas 16(13.3%) were excluded. 14(11.6%) of the study participants were HIV infected. Although individual host markers showed potential as diagnostic candidates, the main finding of the study was the identification of a six-marker biosignature in unstimulated supernatants (Apo-ACIII, CXCL1, CXCL9, CCL8, CCL-1, CD56) which diagnosed TB with sensitivity and specificity of 73.9%(95% CI; 51.6-87.8) and 87.6%(95% CI; 77.2-94.5), respectively, after leave-one-out cross validation. Combinations between TB-antigen specific biomarkers also showed potential (sensitivity of 77.3% and specificity of 69.2%, respectively), with multiple biomarkers being significantly different between TB patients, Quantiferon Plus Positive and Quantiferon Plus negative individuals with ORD, regardless of HIV status.

Conclusions: Biomarkers detected in QuantiFERON Plus supernatants may contribute to adjunctive diagnosis of TB.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jinf.2019.07.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6692655PMC
September 2019

Diabetes Mellitus Among Pulmonary Tuberculosis Patients From 4 Tuberculosis-endemic Countries: The TANDEM Study.

Clin Infect Dis 2020 02;70(5):780-788

Department of Internal Medicine and Radboud Center of Infectious Diseases, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Background: Diabetes mellitus (DM) increases active tuberculosis (TB) risk and worsens TB outcomes, jeopardizing TB control especially in TB-endemic countries with rising DM prevalence rates. We assessed DM status and clinical correlates in TB patients across settings in Indonesia, Peru, Romania, and South Africa.

Methods: Age-adjusted DM prevalence was estimated using laboratory glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) or fasting plasma glucose in TB patients. Detailed and standardized sociodemographic, anthropometric, and clinical measurements were made. Characteristics of TB patients with or without DM were compared using multilevel mixed-effect regression models with robust standard errors.

Results: Of 2185 TB patients (median age 36.6 years, 61.2% male, 3.8% human immunodeficiency virus-infected), 12.5% (267/2128) had DM, one third of whom were newly diagnosed. Age-standardized DM prevalence ranged from 10.9% (South Africa) to 19.7% (Indonesia). Median HbA1c in TB-DM patients ranged from 7.4% (Romania) to 11.3% (Indonesia). Compared to those without DM, TB-DM patients were older and had a higher body mass index (BMI) (P value < .05). Compared to those with newly diagnosed DM, TB patients with diagnosed DM had higher BMI and HbA1c, less severe TB, and more frequent comorbidities, DM complications, and hypertension (P value < .05).

Conclusions: We show that DM prevalence and clinical characteristics of TB-DM vary across settings. Diabetes is primarily known but untreated, hyperglycemia is often severe, and many patients with TB-DM have significant cardiovascular disease risk and severe TB. This underlines the need to improve strategies for better clinical management of combined TB and DM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciz284DOI Listing
February 2020

Elucidation of a Human Urine Metabolite as a Seryl-Leucine Glycopeptide and as a Biomarker of Effective Anti-Tuberculosis Therapy.

ACS Infect Dis 2019 03 10;5(3):353-364. Epub 2019 Jan 10.

Mycobacteria Research Laboratories, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology , Colorado State University , 200 West Lake Street, 0922 Campus Delivery , Fort Collins , Colorado 80523 , United States.

The evaluation of new tuberculosis (TB) therapies is limited by the paucity of biomarkers to monitor treatment response. Previous work detected an uncharacterized urine metabolite with a molecular mass of 874.3547 Da that showed promise as a biomarker for successful TB treatment. Using mass spectrometry combined with enzymatic digestions, the metabolite was structurally characterized as a seryl-leucine core 1 O-glycosylated peptide (SLC1G) of human origin. Examination of SLC1G in urine revealed a significant abundance increase in individuals with active TB versus their household contacts and healthy controls. Moreover, differential decreases in SLC1G levels were observed by week one in TB patients during successful treatment versus those that failed treatment. The SLC1G levels were also associated with clinical parameters used to measure bacterial burden (GeneXpert) and inflammation (positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT)). These results demonstrate the importance of metabolite identification and provide strong evidence for applying SLC1G as a biomarker of TB treatment response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsinfecdis.8b00241DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6412501PMC
March 2019

Diabetes screen during tuberculosis contact investigations highlights opportunity for new diabetes diagnosis and reveals metabolic differences between ethnic groups.

Tuberculosis (Edinb) 2018 12 18;113:10-18. Epub 2018 Aug 18.

DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Tuberculosis Research, South African Medical Research Council Centre for Tuberculosis Research, Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa; Mater Research Institute - The University of Queensland, Translational Research Institute, Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Electronic address:

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a prevalent risk factor for tuberculosis (TB), but most studies on TB-T2D have focused on TB patients, been limited to one community, and shown a variable impact of T2D on TB risk or treatment outcomes. We conducted a cross-sectional assessment of sociodemographic and metabolic factors in adult TB contacts with T2D (versus no T2D), from the Texas-Mexico border to study Hispanics, and in Cape Town to study South African Coloured ethnicities. The prevalence of T2D was 30.2% in Texas-Mexico and 17.4% in South Africa, with new diagnosis in 34.4% and 43.9%, respectively. Contacts with T2D differed between ethnicities, with higher smoking, hormonal contraceptive use and cholesterol levels in South Africa, and higher obesity in Texas-Mexico (p < 0.05). PCA analysis revealed striking differences between ethnicities in the relationships between factors defining T2D and dyslipidemias. Our findings suggest that screening for new T2D in adult TB contacts is effective to identify new T2D patients at risk for TB. Furthermore, studies aimed at predicting individual TB risk in T2D patients, should take into account the heterogeneity in dyslipidemias that are likely to modify the estimates of TB risk or adverse treatment outcomes that are generally attributed to T2D alone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tube.2018.08.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6284235PMC
December 2018

Accuracy of diabetes screening methods used for people with tuberculosis, Indonesia, Peru, Romania, South Africa.

Bull World Health Organ 2018 Nov 27;96(11):738-749. Epub 2018 Aug 27.

Population Health Research Institute, St George's University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 0RE, England.

Objective: To evaluate the performance of diagnostic tools for diabetes mellitus, including laboratory methods and clinical risk scores, in newly-diagnosed pulmonary tuberculosis patients from four middle-income countries.

Methods: In a multicentre, prospective study, we recruited 2185 patients with pulmonary tuberculosis from sites in Indonesia, Peru, Romania and South Africa from January 2014 to September 2016. Using laboratory-measured glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) as the gold standard, we measured the diagnostic accuracy of random plasma glucose, point-of-care HbA1c, fasting blood glucose, urine dipstick, published and newly derived diabetes mellitus risk scores and anthropometric measurements. We also analysed combinations of tests, including a two-step test using point-of-care HbA1cwhen initial random plasma glucose was ≥ 6.1 mmol/L.

Findings: The overall crude prevalence of diabetes mellitus among newly diagnosed tuberculosis patients was 283/2185 (13.0%; 95% confidence interval, CI: 11.6-14.4). The marker with the best diagnostic accuracy was point-of-care HbA1c (area under receiver operating characteristic curve: 0.81; 95% CI: 0.75-0.86). A risk score derived using age, point-of-care HbA1c and random plasma glucose had the best overall diagnostic accuracy (area under curve: 0.85; 95% CI: 0.81-0.90). There was substantial heterogeneity between sites for all markers, but the two-step combination test performed well in Indonesia and Peru.

Conclusion: Random plasma glucose followed by point-of-care HbA1c testing can accurately diagnose diabetes in tuberculosis patients, particularly those with substantial hyperglycaemia, while reducing the need for more expensive point-of-care HbA1c testing. Risk scores with or without biochemical data may be useful but require validation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2471/BLT.17.206227DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6239004PMC
November 2018

Author Correction: A multi-cohort study of the immune factors associated with M. tuberculosis infection outcomes.

Nature 2018 12;564(7734):E5

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA.

The spelling of author Qianting Yang was corrected; the affiliation of author Stephanus T. Malherbe was corrected; and graphs in Fig. 4b and c were corrected owing to reanalysis of the data into the correct timed intervals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0635-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6419094PMC
December 2018

A multi-cohort study of the immune factors associated with M. tuberculosis infection outcomes.

Nature 2018 08 22;560(7720):644-648. Epub 2018 Aug 22.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA.

Most infections with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) manifest as a clinically asymptomatic, contained state, known as latent tuberculosis infection, that affects approximately one-quarter of the global population. Although fewer than one in ten individuals eventually progress to active disease, tuberculosis is a leading cause of death from infectious disease worldwide. Despite intense efforts, immune factors that influence the infection outcomes remain poorly defined. Here we used integrated analyses of multiple cohorts to identify stage-specific host responses to Mtb infection. First, using high-dimensional mass cytometry analyses and functional assays of a cohort of South African adolescents, we show that latent tuberculosis is associated with enhanced cytotoxic responses, which are mostly mediated by CD16 (also known as FcγRIIIa) and natural killer cells, and continuous inflammation coupled with immune deviations in both T and B cell compartments. Next, using cell-type deconvolution of transcriptomic data from several cohorts of different ages, genetic backgrounds, geographical locations and infection stages, we show that although deviations in peripheral B and T cell compartments generally start at latency, they are heterogeneous across cohorts. However, an increase in the abundance of circulating natural killer cells in tuberculosis latency, with a corresponding decrease during active disease and a return to baseline levels upon clinical cure are features that are common to all cohorts. Furthermore, by analysing three longitudinal cohorts, we find that changes in peripheral levels of natural killer cells can inform disease progression and treatment responses, and inversely correlate with the inflammatory state of the lungs of patients with active tuberculosis. Together, our findings offer crucial insights into the underlying pathophysiology of tuberculosis latency, and identify factors that may influence infection outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0439-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6414221PMC
August 2018

Disease characteristics and treatment of patients with diabetes mellitus attending government health services in Indonesia, Peru, Romania and South Africa.

Trop Med Int Health 2018 10 10;23(10):1118-1128. Epub 2018 Sep 10.

Department of Internal Medicine and Radboud Center for Infectious Diseases, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Objective: To describe the characteristics and management of Diabetes mellitus (DM) patients from low- and middle-income countries (LMIC).

Methods: We systematically characterised consecutive DM patients attending public health services in urban settings in Indonesia, Peru, Romania and South Africa, collecting data on DM treatment history, complications, drug treatment, obesity, HbA1c and cardiovascular risk profile; and assessing treatment gaps against relevant national guidelines.

Results: Patients (median 59 years, 62.9% female) mostly had type 2 diabetes (96%), half for >5 years (48.6%). Obesity (45.5%) and central obesity (females 84.8%; males 62.7%) were common. The median HbA1c was 8.7% (72 mmol/mol), ranging from 7.7% (61 mmol/mol; Peru) to 10.4% (90 mmol/mol; South Africa). Antidiabetes treatment included metformin (62.6%), insulin (37.8%), and other oral glucose-lowering drugs (34.8%). Disease complications included eyesight problems (50.4%), EGFR <60 ml/min (18.9%), heart disease (16.5%) and proteinuria (14.7%). Many had an elevated cardiovascular risk with elevated blood pressure (36%), LDL (71.0%) and smoking (13%), but few were taking antihypertensive drugs (47.1%), statins (28.5%) and aspirin (30.0%) when indicated. Few patients on insulin (8.0%), statins (8.4%) and antihypertensives (39.5%) reached treatment targets according to national guidelines. There were large differences between countries in terms of disease profile and medication use.

Conclusion: DM patients in government clinics in four LMIC with considerable growth of DM have insufficient glycaemic control, frequent macrovascular and other complications, and insufficient preventive measures for cardiovascular disease. These findings underline the need to identify treatment barriers and secure optimal DM care in such settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tmi.13137DOI Listing
October 2018

Diagnostic Challenge of Tuberculosis Heterogeneity.

Semin Respir Crit Care Med 2018 Jun 2;39(3):286-296. Epub 2018 Aug 2.

Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon.

For the ICU physician, the failure to consider, diagnose, and treat tuberculosis (TB) results in increased morbidity and mortality, and poses risks to both patients and health care providers. At present, the diagnosis of TB depends on the detection of either mycobacteria or mycobacterial products from clinical specimens. Given the risks posed to both the patient and health care providers by undiagnosed and/or untreated TB, the ability to diagnose TB rapidly in the ICU cannot be understated. In this regard, nucleic acid amplification tests provide relatively quick information about the presence of (Mtb) DNA. If available, a blood-based test that would accurately identify persons with TB would be of use in the ICU. Currently available tests such as the T-Spot.TB or QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube can discern infection with Mtb, but are not recommended for the ICU as they cannot rule out TB. In this review, we will discuss the increasing literature that would suggest that a blood-based diagnostic that reflects the host response to TB could be used to diagnose TB in the ICU.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0038-1660471DOI Listing
June 2018

A semi-automatic technique to quantify complex tuberculous lung lesions on F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computerised tomography images.

EJNMMI Res 2018 Jun 25;8(1):55. Epub 2018 Jun 25.

Division of Nuclear Medicine, Department of Medical Imaging and Clinical Oncology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa.

Background: There is a growing interest in the use of F-FDG PET-CT to monitor tuberculosis (TB) treatment response. However, TB causes complex and widespread pathology, which is challenging to segment and quantify in a reproducible manner. To address this, we developed a technique to standardise uptake (Z-score), segment and quantify tuberculous lung lesions on PET and CT concurrently, in order to track changes over time. We used open source tools and created a MATLAB script. The technique was optimised on a training set of five pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) cases after standard TB therapy and 15 control patients with lesion-free lungs.

Results: We compared the proposed method to a fixed threshold (SUV > 1) and manual segmentation by two readers and piloted the technique successfully on scans of five control patients and five PTB cases (four cured and one failed treatment case), at diagnosis and after 1 and 6 months of treatment. There was a better correlation between the Z-score-based segmentation and manual segmentation than SUV > 1 and manual segmentation in terms of overall spatial overlap (measured in Dice similarity coefficient) and specificity (1 minus false positive volume fraction). However, SUV > 1 segmentation appeared more sensitive. Both the Z-score and SUV > 1 showed very low variability when measuring change over time. In addition, total glycolytic activity, calculated using segmentation by Z-score and lesion-to-background ratio, correlated well with traditional total glycolytic activity calculations. The technique quantified various PET and CT parameters, including the total glycolytic activity index, metabolic lesion volume, lesion volumes at different CT densities and combined PET and CT parameters. The quantified metrics showed a marked decrease in the cured cases, with changes already apparent at month one, but remained largely unchanged in the failed treatment case.

Conclusions: Our technique is promising to segment and quantify the lung scans of pulmonary tuberculosis patients in a semi-automatic manner, appropriate for measuring treatment response. Further validation is required in larger cohorts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13550-018-0411-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6020088PMC
June 2018

The potential of imaging tools as correlates of infection and disease for new TB vaccine development.

Semin Immunol 2018 10 18;39:73-80. Epub 2018 Jun 18.

DST/NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Tuberculosis Research, South African Medical Research Council Centre for Tuberculosis Research, Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa. Electronic address:

The development of an improved vaccine to stimulate an effective response against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) infection and disease will be a major breakthrough in the fight against TB. A lack of tools to adequately track the progression or resolution of events in TB pathogenesis that occur at bacterial loads below the threshold for culture in human samples seriously hampers vaccine development and evaluation. In this review we discuss recent studies that use new imaging applications, modalities and analysis techniques to provide insight into the dynamic processes of MTB infection and disease that are challenging to monitor. These include early infection, the spectrum of latency and subclinical disease, the paucibacillary state induced by treatment, and events leading to recurrence, including relapse.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.smim.2018.06.001DOI Listing
October 2018

Using biomarkers to predict TB treatment duration (Predict TB): a prospective, randomized, noninferiority, treatment shortening clinical trial.

Gates Open Res 2017 Nov 6;1. Epub 2017 Nov 6.

Tuberculosis Research Section, Laboratory of Clinical Immunology and Microbiology, Division of Intramural Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD, USA.

: By the early 1980s, tuberculosis treatment was shortened from 24 to 6 months, maintaining relapse rates of 1-2%. Subsequent trials attempting shorter durations have failed, with 4-month arms consistently having relapse rates of 15-20%. One trial shortened treatment only among those without baseline cavity on chest x-ray and whose month 2 sputum culture converted to negative. The 4-month arm relapse rate decreased to 7% but was still significantly worse than the 6-month arm (1.6%, P<0.01).  We hypothesize that PET/CT characteristics at baseline, PET/CT changes at one month, and markers of residual bacterial load will identify patients with tuberculosis who can be cured with 4 months (16 weeks) of standard treatment. : This is a prospective, multicenter, randomized, phase 2b, noninferiority clinical trial of pulmonary tuberculosis participants. Those eligible start standard of care treatment. PET/CT scans are done at weeks 0, 4, and 16 or 24. Participants who do not meet early treatment completion criteria (baseline radiologic severity, radiologic response at one month, and GeneXpert-detectable bacilli at four months) are placed in Arm A (24 weeks of standard therapy). Those who meet the early treatment completion criteria are randomized at week 16 to continue treatment to week 24 (Arm B) or complete treatment at week 16 (Arm C). The primary endpoint compares the treatment success rate at 18 months between Arms B and C. : Multiple biomarkers have been assessed to predict TB treatment outcomes. This study uses PET/CT scans and GeneXpert (Xpert) cycle threshold to risk stratify participants. PET/CT scans are not applicable to global public health but could be used in clinical trials to stratify participants and possibly become a surrogate endpoint. If the Predict TB trial is successful, other immunological biomarkers or transcriptional signatures that correlate with treatment outcome may be identified.

Trial Registration: NCT02821832.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/gatesopenres.12750.1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5841574PMC
November 2017

Host blood RNA signatures predict the outcome of tuberculosis treatment.

Tuberculosis (Edinb) 2017 12 12;107:48-58. Epub 2017 Aug 12.

The Center for Infectious Disease Research, Seattle, WA, USA. Electronic address:

Biomarkers for tuberculosis treatment outcome will assist in guiding individualized treatment and evaluation of new therapies. To identify candidate biomarkers, RNA sequencing of whole blood from a well-characterized TB treatment cohort was performed. Application of a validated transcriptional correlate of risk for TB revealed symmetry in host gene expression during progression from latent TB infection to active TB disease and resolution of disease during treatment, including return to control levels after drug therapy. The symmetry was also seen in a TB disease signature, constructed from the TB treatment cohort, that also functioned as a strong correlate of risk. Both signatures identified patients at risk of treatment failure 1-4 weeks after start of therapy. Further mining of the transcriptomes revealed an association between treatment failure and suppressed expression of mitochondrial genes before treatment initiation, leading to development of a novel baseline (pre-treatment) signature of treatment failure. These novel host responses to TB treatment were integrated into a five-gene real-time PCR-based signature that captures the clinically relevant responses to TB treatment and provides a convenient platform for stratifying patients according to their risk of treatment failure. Furthermore, this 5-gene signature is shown to correlate with the pulmonary inflammatory state (as measured by PET-CT) and can complement sputum-based Gene Xpert for patient stratification, providing a rapid and accurate alternative to current methods.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tube.2017.08.004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5658513PMC
December 2017