The concentration of gamma interferon (IFN gamma) and adenosine deaminase (ADA) activity were measured in the pleural fluid of 162 patients to compare their diagnostic significance and to establish a possible correlation between both tests. The IFN gamma levels in tuberculous pleural effusions were quite variable, with a mean of 93 U/ml and a median of 48 U/ml. They were higher than 2 U/ml in all cases, whereas no case of nontuberculous effusion showed higher values. ADA activity was higher than 43 U/l in all tuberculous effusions, with a mean value of 80 U/l, higher than in any other group except lymphoma. In three pleural effusions associated with lymphoma, one with mesothelioma, one with adenocarcinoma and four with empyema, ADA activity was higher than 43 U/l. In these patients, IFN gamma levels were low. There was no correlation in the whole series or in any group between IFN and ADA. Both parameters can be very useful for the diagnosis of tuberculous pleuritis. The measurement of IFN gamma is more specific, although the experience with this test is more limited than with ADA. It has the additional shortcoming of a high cost and it requires facilities for radionuclide use. Therefore, we think that ADA measurement should be considered as a routine test while IFN gamma measurement should be reserved for reference institutions.
|Publication status||Published - 17 Mar 1990|