Send to

Choose Destination
J Clin Microbiol. 2013 Nov;51(11):3521-6. doi: 10.1128/JCM.01627-13. Epub 2013 Aug 21.

Impact of blood volume, tube shaking, and incubation time on reproducibility of QuantiFERON-TB gold in-tube assay.

Author information

Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA.


Gamma interferon (IFN-γ) release assays (IGRAs) are functional assays used serially to measure the efficacy of novel tuberculosis (TB) vaccines and to screen health care workers for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI). However, studies have shown nonreproducible IGRA results. In this study, we investigated the effects of blood volume (0.8, 1.0, and 1.2 ml), tube shaking (gentle versus vigorous), and incubation duration (16, 20, and 24 h) on the reproducibility of QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube (QFT-GIT) results for 50 subjects (33 uninfected and 17 infected). The median IFN-γ TB response (TB antigen [Ag] minus nil value) was significantly higher with 0.8 ml blood (1.04 IU/ml) than with 1.0 ml (0.85 IU/ml; P = 0.002) or 1.2 ml (0.49 IU/ml; P < 0.001) for subjects with LTBI. Compared with 0.8 ml (11.8%), there were larger proportions of false-negative results with 1.0 ml (29.4%; P = 0.2) and 1.2 ml (41.2%; P = 0.05) of blood for infected subjects. Blood volume did not significantly change the proportions of positive results in uninfected controls. Compared with gentle shaking, vigorous shaking increased the median IFN-γ response in nil (0.04 versus 0.06 IU/ml; P < 0.001) and TB Ag (0.12 versus 0.24 IU/ml; P = 0.004) tubes and increased TB responses (TB Agvigorous minus nilgentle) (0.02 versus 0.08 IU/ml; P = 0.004). The duration of incubation did not have a significant impact on the proportion of positive results in uninfected or infected subjects. This study identified blood volume and tube shaking as novel preanalytical sources of variability which require further standardization in order to improve the quality and reproducibility of QFT-GIT results.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center