Challenges and perspectives in the diagnosis of extrapulmonary tuberculosis

Luca Norbis, Riccardo Alagna, Enrico Tortoli, Luigi Ruffo Codecasa, Giovanni Battista Migliori, Daniela M. Cirillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Extrapulmonary tuberculosis (EPTB) accounts for a significant proportion of tuberculosis cases worldwide. Nevertheless, the diagnosis is often delayed or even missed due to insidious clinical presentation and poor performance of diagnostic tests. Culture, the classical gold standard for tuberculosis, suffers from increased technical and logistical constraints in EPTB cases. In this review the authors outline current diagnostic options for the main forms of EPTB. The authors also discuss the opportunities and challenges linked in particular to microbiological diagnostics and to the attempts to find a new gold standard test for EPTB. Finally, new biomarkers and tests currently under evaluation are hopefully on the way to introduce significant improvements in EPTB diagnosis, for which clinical suspicion will nevertheless be essential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)633-647
Number of pages15
JournalExpert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • circulating biomarkers
  • clinical diagnosis
  • extrapulmonary tuberculosis
  • gold standard
  • microbiological diagnosis
  • Xpert MTB/RIF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Microbiology
  • Virology
  • Medicine(all)


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