Comparison of Three Different FDA-Approved Plasma HIV-1 RNA Assay Platforms Confirms the Virologic Failure Endpoint of 200 Copies per Milliliter Despite Improved Assay Sensitivity
Lalama CM, Jennings C, Johnson VA, Coombs RW, McKinnon JE, Bremer JW, Cobb BR, Cloherty GA, Mellors JW, and Ribaudo HJ. Comparison of three different FDA-approved plasma HIV-1 RNA assay platforms confirm the virologic failure endpoint of 200 copies/mL despite improved assay sensitivity J Clin Microbiol 2015; 53(8):2659-2666.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology
Discrepancies between HIV-1 RNA results assayed by different FDA-approved platforms have been reported. Plasma samples collected from 332 randomly selected clinical trial participants during the second year of antiretroviral treatment were assayed with three FDA-approved platforms: UltraSensitive Roche Amplicor Monitor, v1.5 (Monitor), the Abbott RealTime HIV-1 test on the m2000 system (Abbott), and the Roche TaqMan HIV-1 test, v2.0 (TaqMan). Samples from 61 additional participants with confirmed HIV-1 RNA levels of >50 copies/ml during trial follow-up were also included. Endpoints were HIV-1 RNA quantification of ≤50 copies/ml versus >50 copies/ml at an individual-sample level (primary) and determination of confirmed virologic failure (VF) from longitudinal samples. A total of 389 participants had results obtained from all assays on at least one sample (median = 6). Proportions of results of >50 copies/ml were 19% (Monitor), 22% (TaqMan), and 25% (Abbott). Despite indication of strong agreement (Cohen's kappa, 0.76 to 0.82), Abbott was more likely to detect HIV-1 RNA levels of >50 copies/ml than Monitor (matched-pair odds ratio [mOR] = 4.2; modified Obuchowski P < 0.001) and TaqMan (mOR = 2.1; P < 0.001); TaqMan was more likely than Monitor (mOR = 2.6; P < 0.001). Despite strong agreement in classifying VF across assay comparisons (kappa, 0.75 to 0.92), at a 50-copies/ml threshold, differences in the probability of VF classification (in the same direction as primary) were apparent (all McNemar's P < 0.007). At a 200-copies/ml VF threshold, no differences between assays were apparent (all P > 0.13). Despite strong agreement among assays, significant differences were observed with respect to detecting HIV-1 RNA levels of >50 copies/ml and identifying VF at the 50-copies/ml threshold. This has important implications for the definition of VF in clinical trials and clinical practice.
Medical Subject Headings
Adolescent; Adult; Aged; Anti-Retroviral Agents; Female; HIV Infections; HIV-1; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Plasma; RNA, Viral; Sensitivity and Specificity; Treatment Failure; Viral Load; Young Adult