Pyrazinamide susceptibility testing in mycobacterium tuberculosis: A systematic review with meta-analyses

Kwok Chiu Chang, Wing Wai Yew, Ying Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Standard culture-based testing of the susceptibility of Mycobacterium tuberculosis to pyrazinamide is difficult to perform. This systematic review with meta-analyses evaluated the roles of molecular assays targeting pncA and of pyrazinamidase assays. PubMed and Embase were searched for relevant publications in English. Sensitivity and specificity were estimated in bivariate random-effects models. Of 128 articles identified, 73 sets of data involving culture isolates were initially included in meta-analyses. Summary estimates of sensitivity and specificity, respectively, were 87% and 93% for PCR-DNA sequencing (n = 29), 75% and 95% for PCR-single-stranded conformation polymorphism (SSCP) (n = 5), 96% and 97% for a mixture of other molecular assays (n = 6), and 89% and 97% for pyrazinamidase assays using the Wayne method (n = 33). The median prevalence (range) of pyrazinamide resistance was 51% (31% to 89%) in multidrug-resistant M. tuberculosis isolates and 5% (0% to 9%) in non-multidrug-resistant isolates. Excluding studies with possibly considerable false resistance in the reference assay gave the following estimates of sensitivity and specificity, respectively: 92% and 93% for PCR-DNA sequencing (n = 20), 98% and 96% for other molecular assays (n = 5), and 91% and 97% for the Wayne assay (n = 27). The Wayne assay had significant funnel plot asymmetry, so the test performance might have been overestimated. Considering the prevalence of pyrazinamide resistance in different clinical settings, PCR-DNA sequencing, and possibly other molecular assays targeting pncA, can detect pyrazinamide resistance in multidrug-resistant M. tuberculosis isolates, with predictive values largely exceeding 90%, and rule out pyrazinamide resistance in non-multidrug-resistant isolates, with predictive values exceeding 99%. Molecular assays are probably the way forward for detecting pyrazinamide resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4499-4505
Number of pages7
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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