BACKGROUND: To cope with the emergence of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), new molecular methods that can routinely be used to screen for a wide range of drug resistance related genetic markers in the Mycobacterium tuberculosis genome are urgently needed.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the performance of multiplex ligaton-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) against Genotype® MTBDRplus to detect resistance to isoniazid (INHr) and rifampicin (RIFr).
METHOD: 96 culture isolates characterised for identification, drug susceptibility testing (DST) and sequencing of rpoB, katG, and inhA genes were evaluated by the MLPA and Genotype®MTBDRplus assays.
RESULTS: With sequencing as a reference standard, sensitivity (SE) to detect INHr was 92.8% and 85.7%, and specificity (SP) was 100% and 97.5%, for MLPA and Genotype®MTBDRplus, respectively. In relation to RIFr, SE was 87.5% and 100%, and SP was 100% and 98.8%, respectively. Kappa value was identical between Genotype®MTBDRplus and MLPA compared with the standard DST and sequencing for detection of INHr [0.83 (0.75-0.91)] and RIFr [0.93 (0.88-0.98)].
CONCLUSION: Compared to Genotype®MTBDRplus, MLPA showed similar sensitivity to detect INH and RIF resistance. The results obtained by the MLPA and Genotype®MTBDRplus assays indicate that both molecular tests can be used for the rapid detection of drug-resistant TB with high accuracy. MLPA has the added value of providing information on the circulating M. tuberculosis lineages.