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Chest. 2007 Apr;131(4):1133-41.

Diagnostic value of interferon-gamma in tuberculous pleurisy: a metaanalysis.

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  • 1Institute of Respiratory Diseases, First Affiliated Hospital, Guangxi Medical University, Nanning 530021, Guangxi, People's Republic of China.



Conventional tests are not always helpful in making a diagnosis of tuberculous pleurisy. Many studies have investigated the usefulness of interferon (IFN)-gamma measurements in pleural fluid for the early diagnosis of tuberculous pleurisy. We conducted a metaanalysis to determine the accuracy of IFN-gamma measurements in the diagnosis of tuberculous pleurisy.


After a systematic review of English-language studies, sensitivity, specificity, and other measures of accuracy of IFN-gamma concentrations in the diagnosis of pleural effusion were pooled using random-effects models. Summary receiver operating characteristic curves were used to summarize overall test performance.


Twenty-two studies met our inclusion criteria. The summary estimates for IFN-gamma in the diagnosis of tuberculous pleurisy in the studies included were as follows: sensitivity, 0.89 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.87 to 0.91); specificity, 0.97 (95% CI, 0.96 to 0.98); positive likelihood ratio, 23.45 (95% CI, 17.31 to 31.78); negative likelihood ratio, 0.11 (95% CI, 0.07 to 0.16); and diagnostic odds ratio, 272.7 (95% CI, 147.5 to 504.2).


IFN-gamma determination is a sensitive and specific test for the diagnosis of tuberculous pleurisy. The measurement of IFN-gamma levels in pleural effusions is thus likely to be a useful tool for diagnosing tuberculous pleurisy. The results of IFN-gamma assays should be interpreted in parallel with clinical findings and the results of conventional tests.

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