EBioMedicine (Mar 2022)

The effect of host factors on discriminatory performance of a transcriptomic signature of tuberculosis risk

  • Humphrey Mulenga,
  • Andrew Fiore-Gartland,
  • Simon C. Mendelsohn,
  • Adam Penn-Nicholson,
  • Stanley Kimbung Mbandi,
  • Bhavesh Borate,
  • Munyaradzi Musvosvi,
  • Michèle Tameris,
  • Gerhard Walzl,
  • Kogieleum Naidoo,
  • Gavin Churchyard,
  • Thomas J. Scriba,
  • Mark Hatherill

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 77
p. 103886


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Summary: Background: We aimed to understand host factors that affect discriminatory performance of a transcriptomic signature of tuberculosis risk (RISK11). Methods: HIV-negative adults aged 18–60 years were evaluated in a prospective study of RISK11 and surveilled for tuberculosis through 15 months. Generalised linear models and receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) regression were used to estimate effect of host factors on RISK11 score (%marginal effect) and on discriminatory performance for tuberculosis disease (area under the curve, AUC), respectively. Findings: Among 2923 participants including 74 prevalent and 56 incident tuberculosis cases, percentage marginal effects on RISK11 score were increased among those with prevalent tuberculosis (+18·90%, 95%CI 12·66−25·13), night sweats (+14·65%, 95%CI 5·39−23·91), incident tuberculosis (+7·29%, 95%CI 1·46−13·11), flu-like symptoms (+5·13%, 95%CI 1·58−8·68), and smoking history (+2·41%, 95%CI 0·89−3·93) than those without; and reduced in males (−6·68%, 95%CI −8·31−5·04) and with every unit increase in BMI (−0·13%, −95%CI −0·25−0·01). Adjustment for host factors affecting controls did not change RISK11 discriminatory performance. Cough was associated with 72·55% higher RISK11 score in prevalent tuberculosis cases. Stratification by cough improved diagnostic performance from AUC = 0·74 (95%CI 0·67−0·82) overall, to 0·97 (95%CI 0·90−1·00, p < 0·001) in cough-positive participants. Combining host factors with RISK11 improved prognostic performance, compared to RISK11 alone, (AUC = 0·76, 95%CI 0·69−0·83 versus 0·56, 95%CI 0·46−0·68, p < 0·001) over a 15-month predictive horizon. Interpretation: Several host factors affected RISK11 score, but only adjustment for cough affected diagnostic performance. Combining host factors with RISK11 should be considered to improve prognostic performance. Funding: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, South African Medical Research Council.