Diagnostic accuracy of pleural fluid tumor necrosis factor ? in tuberculous pleurisy: a meta-analysis

Zhenzhen Li, Wenzhe Qin, Lei Li, Qin Wu, Xuerong Chen


Background: Pleurisy is a common extra pulmonary complication of tuberculosis, but current methods for diagnosing it are fairly crude. Here we product a meta-analysis for the available evidence on the ability of tumor necrosis factor-? (TNF-?) in pleural fluid to serve as a diagnostic marker of tuberculous pleurisy (TP). Materials and Methods: We searched the PubMed, EMBASE, and Google Scholar databases systematically for studies measuring sensitivity, specificity and other measures of diagnostic accuracy of pleural fluid TNF-? in the diagnosis of TP were meta-analyzed by Stata, version 12 and meta-disc. Results: A total of six publications reporting seven case-control studies were identified. Pooled results indicated that pleural fluid TNF-? showed a diagnostic sensitivity of 0.89 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.83-0.93; range, 0.42-1.0) and a diagnostic specificity of 0.82 (95% CI: 0.78-0.86; range, 0.58-0.98). The pooled positive likelihood ratio was 4.78 (95% CI: 3.32-6.89); the negative likelihood ratio, 0.16 (95% CI: 0.1-0.27); the diagnostic odds ratio, 32.43 (95% CI: 14.48-72.6); and the area under the curve was 0.8556 (standard error of mean 0.0559). Conclusion: Pleural fluid TNF-? levels shows relatively high sensitivity but insufficient specificity for diagnosing TP. Pleural fluid TNF-? measurement may be useful in combination with clinical manifestations and conventional tests such as microbiological examination or pleural biopsy.

Key words: Diagnosis, meta-analysis, tuberculous pleurisy, tumor necrosis factor-?

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