BACKGROUND: Quantification of recurrence risk following successful treatment is crucial to evaluating regimens for multidrug- or rifampicin-resistant (MDR/RR) tuberculosis (TB). However, such analyses are complicated when some patients die or become lost during post-treatment-follow-up.
METHODS: We analyzed data on 1,991 patients who successfully completed a longer MDR/RR-TB regimen containing bedaquiline and/or delamanid between 2015 and 2018 in 16 countries. Using five approaches for handling post-treatment deaths, we estimated the six-month post-treatment TB recurrence risk overall, and by HIV status. We used inverse-probability-weighting to account for patients with missing follow-up and investigated the impact of potential bias from excluding these patients without applying inverse-probability weights.
RESULTS: The estimated TB recurrence risk was 7.4 per 1000 (95% confidence interval (CI): 3.5,12.9) when deaths were handled as non-recurrences, and 7.6 per 1000 (95% CI: 3.6,13.1) when deaths were censored and inverse-probability weights were applied to account for the excluded deaths. The estimated risk of composite recurrence outcomes were 25.5 (95% CI: 15.4,38.1), 11.7 (95% CI: 6.5,18.3), and 8.6 (95% CI: 4.2,14.6) per 1000 for recurrence or 1) any death, 2) death with unknown or TB-related cause, 3) TB-related death, respectively. Corresponding relative risks for HIV status varied in direction and magnitude. Exclusion of patients with missing follow-up without inverse-probability-weighting had a small impact on estimates.
CONCLUSION: The estimated six-month TB recurrence risk was low, and the association with HIV status was inconclusive due to few recurrence events. Estimation of post-treatment recurrence will be enhanced by explicit assumptions about deaths and appropriate adjustment for missing follow-up data.
© The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America.