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Association between monocyte-to-lymphocyte ratio and tuberculin skin test positivity in HIV-positive adults

Journal Contribution - e-publication

Background The tuberculin skin test (TST) identifies individuals at high risk of developing tuberculosis (TB) but poses many challenges. The blood monocyte-to-lymphocyte ratio (MLR) could be an alternative, as extremes in MLR have been associated with increased risk of TB disease. Methods At a primary care clinic in Johannesburg, a differential white blood cell count and TST was performed in adults starting antiretroviral treatment (ART) without symptoms suggestive of active TB. Results Of 259 participants, 171 had valid results of whom 30% (51/171) were TST positive and the median MLR was 0.18 (IQR 0.13-0.28). The MLR distribution differed between CD4 count categories (p < 0.01), with a broader range of values in TST negative participants with a low CD4 count (<= 250 cells/mm(3)), likely reflecting HIV immunosuppression. MLR was associated with a positive TST (OR 0.78 per 0.1 increase, 95% CI 0.59, 0.97) in bivariate analysis but not in multivariate regression analysis (aOR 0.83 for every 0.1 increase, 95% CI 0.60, 1.08). Conclusion In ART-naive adults without symptoms suggestive of active TB, MLR was not independently associated with TST positivity and is thus unlikely to be a useful alternative to TST. Future research should focus on development of a cheap, simple and accurate biomarker to identify those people benefiting most from preventive TB therapy.
Journal: PLoS ONE
ISSN: 1932-6203
Volume: 16
Publication year:2021
Keywords:A1 Journal article