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Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2012 Jun;10(6):631-5. doi: 10.1586/eri.12.43.

Diagnosis of extrapulmonary tuberculosis using the Xpert(®) MTB/RIF assay.

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The Desmond Tutu HIV Centre, Institute of Infectious Disease & Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town, Anzio Road, Observatory 7925, Cape Town, South Africa.


Evaluation of: Tortoli E, Russo C, Piersimoni C et al. Clinical validation of Xpert MTB/RIF for the diagnosis of extrapulmonary tuberculosis. Eur. Respir. J. doi:10.1183/09031936.00176311 (2012) (Epub ahead of print). The Xpert® MTB/RIF assay has been CE-marked for rapid molecular diagnosis of TB in Europe and has been endorsed by the WHO as a replacement for sputum smear microscopy for diagnosis of pulmonary TB in low- and middle-income countries. However, few data are available to inform recommendations for use of the assay for testing nonsputum clinical samples when investigating suspected extrapulmonary TB (EPTB). We review and discuss the findings of Tortoli and colleagues, who evaluated the assay used for this purpose in a large study of adults and children in Italy. They provide a per-sample analysis of 268 diagnoses of EPTB at a range of anatomic sites (sensitivity: 81.3%; 95% CI: 76.2-85.8) and data for 1206 samples in which EPTB was excluded (specificity: 99.8%; 95% CI: 99.4-100). We discuss how this paper forms an important addition to the growing body of literature demonstrating the utility of Xpert MTB/RIF for EPTB diagnosis when applied to diverse types of clinical samples.

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