BACKGROUND Control of the tuberculosis (TB) pandemic remains hindered in part by a lack of simple and accurate measures of treatment efficacy, as current gold standard markers rely on sputum-based assays that are slow and challenging to implement. However, previous work identified urinary N1, N12-diacetylspermine (DiAcSpm), neopterin, hydroxykynurenine, N-acetylhexosamine, ureidopropionic acid, sialic acid, and mass-to-charge ratio (m/z) 241.0903 as potential biomarkers of active pulmonary TB (ATB). Here, we evaluated their ability to serve as biomarkers of TB treatment response and mycobacterial load.METHODS We analyzed urine samples prospectively collected from 2 cohorts with ATB. A total of 34 study participants from African countries treated with first-line TB therapy rifampin, isoniazid, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol (HRZE) were followed for 1 year, and 35 participants from Haiti treated with either HRZE or an experimental drug were followed for 14 days. Blinded samples were analyzed by untargeted HPLC-coupled high-resolution TOF-mass spectrometry.RESULTS Urinary levels of all 7 molecules significantly decreased by week 26 of successful treatment (P = 0.01 to P < 0.0001) and positively correlated with sputum mycobacterial load (P < 0.0001). Urinary DiAcSpm levels decreased significantly in participants treated with HRZE as early as 14 days (P < 0.0001) but remained unchanged in cases of ineffective therapy (P = 0.14).CONCLUSION Urinary DiAcSpm, neopterin, hydroxykynurenine, N-acetylhexosamine, ureidopropionic acid, sialic acid, and m/z 241.0903 reductions correlated with successful anti-TB treatment and sputum mycobacterial load. Urinary DiAcSpm levels exhibited reductions capable of differentiating treatment success from failure as early as 2 weeks after the initiation of chemotherapy, advocating its further development as a potentially simple, noninvasive biomarker for assessing treatment response and bacterial load.FUNDING This work was supported by the Clinical and Translational Science Center at Weill Cornell College of Medicine (NIH/NCATS 1 UL1 TR002384-02 and KL2TR000458), the Department of Defense (PR170782), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease grants (NIAID T32AI007613-16, K24 AI098627, and K23 AI131913), the NIH Fogarty International Center grants (R24 TW007988 and TW010062), NIH grant (R01 GM135926), the Abby and Howard P. Milstein Program in Chemical Biology and Translational Medicine, and the Tuberculosis Research Units Networks (TBRU-N, AI111143).


Qianjing Xia, Myung Hee Lee, Kathleen F. Walsh, Kathrine McAulay, James M. Bean, Daniel W. Fitzgerald, Kathryn M. Dupnik, Warren D. Johnson, Jean W. Pape, Kyu Y. Rhee, Flonza Isa


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