image of Diagnostic and Treatment Monitoring Potential of A Stool-Based Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction Assay for Pulmonary Tuberculosis
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


A quantifiable, stool-based, () test has potential complementary value to respiratory specimens. Limit of detection (LOD) was determined by spiking control stool. Clinical test performance was evaluated in a cohort with pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) ( = 166) and asymptomatic household TB child contacts ( = 105). Stool-quantifiable polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) results were compared with sputum acid-fast bacilli (AFB) microscopy, GeneXpert MTB/RIF (Xpert MTB/RIF), and cultures. In stool-spiking studies, the LOD was 96 colony-forming units/50 mg of stool (95% confidence interval [CI]: 84.8–105.6). Among specimens collected within 72 hours of antituberculosis treatment (ATT) initiation, stool qPCR detected 22 of 23 (95%) of culture-positive cases. Among clinically diagnosed cases that were Xpert MTB/RIF and culture negative, stool qPCR detected an additional 8% (3/37). Among asymptomatic, recently TB-exposed participants, stool PCR detected in two of 105 (1.9%) patients. Two months after ATT, the quantitative burden in femtogram per microliters decreased (Wilcoxon signed-rank < 0.001) and persistent positive stool PCR was associated with treatment failure or drug resistance (relative risk 2.8, CI: 1.2–6.5; = 0.012). Stool-based qPCR is a promising complementary technique to sputum-based diagnosis. It detects and quantifies low levels of stool DNA, thereby supporting adjunct diagnosis and treatment monitoring in pulmonary TB.


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  • Published online : 23 Apr 2018
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