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The Comparison Study between Tuberculin Skin Test and Interferon Gamma Release Assay in BCG-Vaccinated Healthy Donors
Biomed Sci Letters 2018;24:138-142
Published online June 30, 2018;
© 2018 The Korean Society For Biomedical Laboratory Sciences.

Yoon-Sung Choi1,2 and Sunghyun Kim1,2,†

1Department of Clinical Laboratory Science, College of Health Sciences, Catholic University of Pusan, Busan 46252, Korea
2Clinical Trial Specialist Program for in vitro Diagnostics, Brain Busan 21 Plus Program, Graduate School, Catholic University of Pusan, Busan 46252, Korea
Correspondence to: Sunghyun Kim. Department of Clinical Laboratory Science, College of Health Sciences, Catholic University of Pusan, Busan 46252, Korea.
Tel: +82-51-510-0560, Fax: +82-51-510-0568, e-mail:
Received February 23, 2018; Revised May 30, 2018; Accepted June 1, 2018.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The incidence of tuberculosis (TB) in the Republic of Korea remains high when compared to the incidence in other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. The prompt diagnosis and effective treatment of latent TB infection (LTBI) are very important in terms of controlling the burden of TB. The tuberculin skin test (TST) has long been the "gold standard" assay for the diagnosis of LTBI. However, it can show false positive results due to Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination and infection with many environmental nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM). The interferon gamma release assay (IGRA) using Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB)-specific antigens, was developed for the detection of LTBI. The QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube assay is one of the most commonly used forms of the IGRA. In order to compare the diagnostic efficacy of the TST and IGRA in relation to LTBI among BCG-vaccinated healthy donors, whole blood samples were collected from 51 participants, and the results of the TST and IGRA were compared. Of the 51 cases, 18 cases (35.3%) were positive and 33 cases (64.7%) were negative when using the TST, while four cases (7.8%) were positive and 47 cases (92.2%) negative when using the IGRA. There was no correlation between the size of the induration in the TST and the IFN-γ protein level. In conclusion, the TST showed higher cross-reactivity among the BCG-vaccinated healthy participants, therefore, the IGRA might be the most suitable assay for the rapid screening of LTBI in BCG-vaccinated healthy population, or for TB contact investigation.
Keywords : Tuberculin skin test, Interferon gamma release assay, Latent tuberculosis infection, BCG vaccination, Contact investigation