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Dig Liver Dis. 2013 Sep;45(9):733-7. doi: 10.1016/j.dld.2013.03.005. Epub 2013 Apr 12.

How frequently do tuberculosis screening tests convert in inflammatory bowel disease patients on anti-tumour necrosis factor-alpha? A pilot study.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Hospital Universitario de Fuenlabrada, Madrid, Spain. Electronic address:



Tuberculosis reactivation can lead to severe complications in patients treated with anti-tumour necrosis factor-alpha.


To assess the usefulness of repeat tuberculosis screening tests in inflammatory bowel disease patients on stable anti-TNF therapy.


Cross-sectional study, in patients on prolonged anti-TNF treatment (≥ 12 months) and basal negative screening for latent tuberculosis. Quantiferon(®)-TB Gold In-tube test was performed and then, tuberculin skin test was administered.


74 patients were included, median duration of anti-TNF treatment was 30 months (IQR 19-54); 47 patients on infliximab and 27 on adalimumab; no patient was on glucocorticoids. Previous BCG vaccination was present in 5 cases. After anti-TNF was started, 4 patients suffered from potential tuberculosis exposure and two cases travelled to endemic areas. The cumulative incidence of tuberculin skin test conversion was 2.7% (95% CI 0.3-9.4%, 2/74), and the incidence rate of tuberculin skin test conversion was 0.83% (95% CI 0.1-2.9%) per patient-year of treatment with anti-TNF drugs. All Quantiferon tests but one (a patient with an indeterminate result and a negative tuberculin skin test) were negative.


The incidence rate of conversion of tuberculosis screening tests among patients on anti-TNF treatment seems to be low and these conversions were diagnosed based on a positive tuberculin skin test and were discordant with Quantiferon testing.


Anti-tumour necrosis factor; Inflammatory bowel disease; Quantiferon; Tuberculin skin test; Tuberculosis

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