CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · J Lab Physicians 2022; 14(04): 403-411
DOI: 10.1055/s-0042-1757231
Original Article

Diagnostic Performance of Multiplex PCR for Detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex in Presumptive Pulmonary Tuberculosis Patients and Its Utility in Smear Negative Specimens

1   Department of Microbiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
Shivkumar Rashmi Mudliar
1   Department of Microbiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
Jitendra Singh
2   Department of Translational Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
1   Department of Microbiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
3   Department of Pulmonary Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
Sagar Khadanga
4   Department of General Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
Sarman Singh
5   All India Institute of Medical Sciences Bhopal, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
› Author Affiliations
Funding This study was a part of the MD thesis work conducted by the author, which was supported by a financial grant from the Indian Council of Medical Research [Award Letter Number 3/2/Dec-2019/PG-Thesis-HRD (29); Dated: 23.03.2020]. The authors are grateful to ICMR for this incentive.


Objective The primary objective of this study was to assess the diagnostic performance of multiplex polymerase chain reaction (mPCR) for the detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) in presumptive pulmonary TB patients, in the setting of a tertiary level teaching hospital in central India, in comparison to liquid culture using BACTEC mycobacteria growth indicator tubes (MGIT) 960 TB system as the gold standard. The secondary objective was to assess the performance of mPCR for Ziehl Neelsen smear negative samples and ascertain the utility of this assay in smear negative samples.

Materials and Methods Sputum or bronchoalveolar lavage samples were collected from patients who were adults, aged 18 years or older, presenting with presumptive pulmonary TB, and subjected to three microbiological investigations, that is, Ziehl Neelsen staining, mycobacterial culture using mycobacterial growth indicator tubes in the BD BACTEC MGIT 960 instrument, and the mPCR.

Statistical Analysis For statistical analysis, 2 × 2 contingency tables were prepared and analyzed separately for all samples and for smear-negative samples using GraphPad and MedCalc tools. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value (NPV) of mPCR were calculated by taking MGIT culture as the reference standard.

Results For all samples (n = 114), sensitivity of mPCR for the detection of (MTBC) was 93.48% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 82.10–98.63%), specificity was 95.59% (95% CI: 87.64–99.08%), positive predictive value (PPV) was 93.48% (95% CI: 82.54–97.75%), and NPV was 95.59% (95% CI: 87.87–98.48%). For smear negative samples (n = 80), sensitivity was 80.00% (95% CI: 51.91–95.67%), specificity was 98.46% (95% CI: 91.72–99.96%), PPV was 92.31% (95% CI: 62.80–98.84%), and NPV was 95.52% (95% CI: 88.57–98.33%).

Conclusion In this study, we were able to demonstrate the good performance characteristics of the mPCR for the detection of MTBC from clinical samples of patients with presumptive pulmonary tuberculosis, with MGIT liquid culture as the reference standard. It may be concluded that mPCR can be considered equivalent to MGIT culture in terms of clinical decision making and yield of positivity, owing to the good sensitivity and specificity for the detection of MTBC.

Ethical Approval

This research study was approved by the Institutional Human Ethics Committee of All India Institute of Medical Sciences Bhopal, Letter of approval number IHEC-LOP/2019/ MD0100, dated 23 October 2019.

Authors' Contributions

Lonika Lodha performed the scientific work and prepared the manuscript draft. Shivkumar Rashmi Mudliar performed the scientific work and edited the manuscript draft. Jitendra Singh supervised the scientific work and edited the manuscript draft. Anand Maurya supervised the scientific work and edited the manuscript draft. Alkesh Kumar Khurana supervised the clinical data collection and approved the final manuscript. Sagar Khadanga supervised the clinical data collection and approved the final manuscript. Sarman Singh supervised the scientific work and approved the final manuscript.

Publication History

Article published online:
20 October 2022

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