Objective: To prospectively evaluate the validity of a PCR assay in CSF for the diagnosis of neurocysticercosis (NC).
Methods: We conducted a multicenter, prospective case-control study, recruiting participants from 5 hospitals in Cuenca, Ecuador, from January 2015 to February 2016. Cases fulfilled validated diagnostic criteria for NC. For each case, a neurosurgical patient who did not fulfill the diagnostic criteria for NC was selected as a control. CT and MRI, as well as a CSF sample, were collected from both cases and controls. The diagnostic criteria to identify cases were used as a reference standard.
Results: Overall, 36 case and 36 control participants were enrolled. PCR had a sensitivity of 72.2% (95% confidence interval [CI] 54.8%–85.8%) and a specificity of 100.0% (95% CI 90.3%–100.0%). For parenchymal NC, PCR had a sensitivity of 42.9% (95% CI 17.7%–71.1%), and for extraparenchymal NC, PCR had a sensitivity of 90.9% (95% CI 70.8%–98.9%).
Conclusions: This study demonstrated the usefulness of this PCR assay in CSF for the diagnosis of NC. PCR may be particularly helpful for diagnosing extraparenchymal NC when neuroimaging techniques have failed.
Classification of evidence: This study provides Class III evidence that CSF PCR can accurately identify patients with extraparenchymal NC.
Citation: Carpio A, Campoverde A, Romo ML, García L, Piedra LM, Pacurucu M, López N, Aguilar J, López S, Vintimilla LC, Toral AM, Peña-Tapia P. Validity of a PCR assay in CSF for the diagnosis of neurocysticercosis. Neurol NeuroimmunolNeuroinflamm. 2017 Jan 16;4(2). Link to PubMed >>