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Cost-effectiveness of QuantiFERON Testing Before Initiation of Biological Therapy in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Swaminath, Arun MD*; Bhadelia, Nahid MD, MA; Wang, Y. Claire ScD

doi: 10.1097/MIB.0b013e31829f008f
Original Clinical Articles

Background: Anti–tumor necrosis factor α drugs are known to reactivate latent tuberculosis (TB). Current guidelines recommend screening for latent tuberculosis infection, with either tuberculin skin test (TST) or interferon gamma release assays such as QuantiFERON-TB Gold (QFT-G). Given the high rates of anergy to TST among immunosuppressed inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients, there is considerable interest in evaluating the superiority of interferon gamma release assays over TST in this patient population to diagnose latent tuberculosis infection. We compared the performance of TST and QFT-G for screening latent TB among immunosuppressed IBD patients based on prevalence, mortality risk from reactivation TB, and costs.

Methods: A decision analytical model was constructed to compare 1-year outcomes and costs of using TST or interferon gamma release assay in an immunosuppressed IBD population.

Results: Under the base case scenario, for every 1000 patients screened, the QFT-G strategy resulted in 0.53 deaths from reactivation TB compared with 1.92 deaths using TST. The QFT-G strategy results in 1.85 reactivation TB versus 6.7 reactivation TB using TST. The model was not sensitive to background prevalence of latent TB. The cost of QFT-G would have to be more than double for the TST strategy to become more cost effective. QFT-G also remains the cost-effective option unless the sensitivity of the TST improves by 400%.

Conclusions: Under a broad range of parameter values, the QFT-G strategy dominates the TST strategy in cost-effectiveness. Consideration should be given to QFT-G as the preferred method of identifying latent TB in all immunosuppressed IBD patients.

Article first published online 13 August 2013

*Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York;

Department of Infectious Diseases, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts; and

Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, New York.

Reprints: Arun Swaminath, MD, 630 West 168th Street, PH 7-318, New York, NY 10032 (e-mail: as3576@columbia.edu).

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (www.ibdjournal.org).

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Dr. Wang is partially funded by NIH grant KM1 CA156709-01.

Received April 26, 2013

Accepted June 04, 2013

© Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, Inc.
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