Disputed rpoB mutations can frequently cause important rifampicin resistance among new tuberculosis patients

A Van Deun, K J M Aung, A Hossain, P De Rijk, M Gumusboga, L Rigouts, Bouke C de Jong

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


SETTING: Greater Mymensingh area, Bangladesh.

OBJECTIVES: To document among new tuberculosis (TB) patients the proportions and treatment outcomes of silent, non-disputed and disputed (generally missed by rapid drug susceptibility testing [DST]) rpoB mutations, and their detection by commercial molecular assays.

DESIGN: Retrospective analysis of rpoB sequences from randomly selected ethanol-preserved diagnostic sputum samples; comparison of sequencing with conventional DST results and standard first-line treatment outcome; retesting of samples with mutations using the Xpert MTB/RIF and GenoType MTBDRplus assays.

RESULTS: Of 1091 samples, 5.8% failed amplification, and six contained other mycobacteria. In 2005 and 2010, respectively 2/500 (0.4%) and 11/522 (2.1%) amplicons showed non-silent mutations. At least 7/13 of these belonged to the disputed group, with 5/7 patients suffering adverse treatment outcome. One silent mutation went undetected by commercial assays. Following routine DST indications, only three cases with a non-silent mutation were eventually detected.

CONCLUSIONS: Disputed rpoB mutations may be responsible for the majority of rifampicin (RMP) resistance among new cases, and lead to adverse outcomes of first-line treatment. Silent mutations do not necessarily cause Xpert or line-probe assay false RMP-resistant results. Molecular RMP DST could greatly simplify resistance surveillance, in addition to offering the best prospects for early and accurate individual diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)185-190
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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