Use of discriminant analysis to assess disease activity in pulmonary tuberculosis with a panel of specific and nonspecific serum markers

F. Ameglio, D. Giannarelli, P. Cordiali-Fei, M. Pietravalle, L. Alemanno, G. Paone, M. Amicosante, C. Saltini, A. Bisetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several cell activation markers, acute phase reactants, enzymes, and antituberculous antibody serum levels have been proposed as possible markers to monitor disease activity in patients with tuberculosis. They have all shown limited sensitivity or specificity. The authors therefore attempted to generate a canonical variable using discriminant analysis, including sensitive and specific parameters, to be a reliable marker in classifying patients correctly during the course of pulmonary tuberculosis. The following parameters were selected: two soluble cell activation markers (soluble interleukin-2 receptor and sCD8); the levels of immunoglobulin (Ig) G and IgM antibodies against the A60 antigen complex; and the presence of specific antibodies directed to eight different A60 components, revealed by Western blot analysis. The tests were performed on sera from three groups of patients with pulmonary tuberculosis. The first group comprised 25 patients with onset tuberculosis, clinically active (OTCA), evaluated at the time of admission. The second group included 28 patients with chemotherapy-treated tuberculosis, clinically active (CTCA), 2 months after therapy had begun. The third group included 20 patients with tuberculosis, nonclinically active (TNCA), who had had at least 1 year of effective therapy. The authors obtained an 80.9% rate of correct classification for the three groups and a rate of 100% when OTCA and TNCA were compared. The patients with CTCA were scarcely differentiated and tended to be distributed into the two other groups. To improve the separation between patients with CTCA and those with OTCA, a second canonical variable was generated with a 91.7% rate of correct classification, as compared with 71% obtained using the sCD8 as the best single variable. The mean values of the last canonical variable were statistically different (Mann-Whitney test, P = .049) when stratified for acid fast bacilli-positive or negative CTCA patients (microscopic detection). Three patients, followed during the entire course their disease, were, as expected, correctly positioned with respect to the subsequent disease phases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-725
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Pathology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • β-2-microglobulin
  • anti-A60-IgG
  • anti-A60-IgM
  • Discriminant analysis
  • Monitoring
  • Neopterin
  • Pulmonary tuberculosis
  • sCD8
  • soluble interleukin-2 receptor
  • Western blot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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