Accuracy and comparison of two rapid multiplex PCR tests for gastroenteritis pathogens: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Li Jun Chang, Chun Jen Hsiao, Bing Chen, Tzu Yu Liu, Julia Ding, Wan Ting Hsu, Victor Su-Ortiz, Szu Ta Chen, Ke Ying Su, Han Ping Wu, Chien Chang Lee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objectives The primary aim is to provide a summary of evidence for the diagnostic accuracies of multiplex PCR gastrointestinal (GI) panels - BioFire FilmArray and Luminex xTAG on the detection of gastroenteritis pathogens. The secondary aim is to compare the performance of these GI panels head to head. Methods A comprehensive search up to 1 December 2019 was conducted on PubMed, Embase, Ovid Medline and Web of Science for studies that used FilmArray or Luminex xTAG Gastrointestinal Pathogen Panel (GPP) for diagnosis of acute gastroenteritis. A summary of diagnostic accuracies for the 16 pathogens were calculated by comparing the GI panels to the current gold standards (conventional standard microbiology techniques such as culture or PCR for bacteria, PCR or enzyme immunoassay (EIA) for viruses, microscopy or EIA for parasite). Hierarchical summary receiver operating characteristic (HSROC) curve analysis, pretest and post-test probabilities were used for estimating the pathogen detection performance. Results A total of 11 studies with 7085 stool samples were eligible for analysis. Multiplex PCRs demonstrated high diagnostic accuracy, with specificity ‰ 0.98 and area under the ROC curve (AUROC) ‰ 0.97 for all the pathogens except for Yersinia enterocolitica (AUROC 0.91). The FilmArray panel demonstrated a higher sensitivity than xTAG GPP for most of the pathogens with the exception of Rotavirus A (xTAG GPP and FilmArray were both 0.93). Conclusions This is the first meta-analysis that is a head-to-head comparison examining the performance of the novel multiplex PCR-based tests Luminex xTAG GPP and FilmArray GI panel in detecting each pathogen. Point estimates calculated from eligible studies showed that both GI panels are highly accurate and may provide important diagnostic information for early identification of gastroenteritis. In addition, although FilmArray has higher sensitivity and post-test probability than xTAG GPP for most of the pathogens, how this will translate to a clinical setting remains unclear.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000553
JournalBMJ Open Gastroenterology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 01 03 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© BMJ Publishing Group Limited 2021.


  • enteric infections
  • meta-analysis
  • real time PCR


Dive into the research topics of 'Accuracy and comparison of two rapid multiplex PCR tests for gastroenteritis pathogens: A systematic review and meta-analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this