Predictive and prognostic properties of TB-LAM among HIV-positive patients initiating ART in Johannesburg, South Africa

  • Alexander d’Elia
  • Denise Evans
  • Lynne McNamara
  • Rebecca Berhanu
  • Ian Sanne
  • Elisabet Lönnermark
Keywords: Antiretroviral therapy, HIV, lipoarabinomannan, Mycobacterium, TB LAM, South Africa


While the diagnostic properties of the TB LAM urine assay (LAM) have been well-described, little is known about its predictive and prognostic properties at ART initiation in a routine clinic setting. We describe the predictive and prognostic properties of LAM in HIV-positive patients initiating ART at an urban hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa. Retrospective study of HIV-positive adults (>18 years) who initiated  standard first-line ART between February 2012 and April 2013 and had a LAM test at initiation. In  HIV-positive patients with no known TB at ART initiation, we assessed the sensitivity, specificity and positive/negative likelihood ratios of LAM to predict incident TB within 6 months of ART initiation. In addition, in patients with a TB diagnosis and on TB treatment <3 months at ART initiation, we measured the CD4 response at 6 months on ART. Of the 274 patients without TB at ART initiation, 65% were female with median CD4 count of 213 cells/mm3. Among the 14 (5.1%) patients who developed active TB, none were urine LAM +ve at baseline. LAM had poor sensitivity (0.0 % 95 % CI 0.00-23.2) to predict incident TB within 6 months of initiation. We analyzed 22 patients with a confirmed TB diagnosis at initiation separately. Of these, LAM +ve patients (27%) showed lower CD4 gains compared to LAM negative patients (median increase 103 vs 199 cells/mm3; p=0.08). LAM has limited value for accurately predicting incident TB in patients with higher CD4 counts after ART initiation. LAM may help identify TB/HIV co-infected patients at ART initiation who respond more slowly to treatment and require targeted interventions to improve treatment outcomes. Larger studies with longer patient follow-up are needed.

Key words: Antiretroviral therapy, HIV, lipoarabinomannan, Mycobacterium, TB LAM, South Africa


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eISSN: 1937-8688