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J Clin Microbiol. 2009 Jan;47(1):129-33. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00506-08. Epub 2008 Nov 12.

Utility of galactomannan enzyme immunoassay and (1,3) beta-D-glucan in diagnosis of invasive fungal infections: low sensitivity for Aspergillus fumigatus infection in hematologic malignancy patients.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, Infection Control and Employee Health, Unit 402, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Previous studies have reported that galactomannan (GM) enzyme immunoassay and 1,3 beta-glucan (BG) assay may be useful diagnostic tools, but their sensitivities are variable. We compared the performances of both tests. Between October 2002 and May 2005, 82 patients were prospectively monitored for 12 weeks. A total of 414 samples were tested by GM assay and 409 samples were tested by BG assay for the following four groups of patients: those with invasive aspergillosis (IA), those with other mold infections (Fusarium, scedosporium, zygomycosis, etc.), those with candidemia, and control patients. Blood samples were obtained twice on week 1 and once every other week for a total of 12 weeks. Patients in the invasive fungal infection groups had comparable risk factors. The sensitivity of the GM test was significantly higher for patients with IA due to non-fumigatus Aspergillus species than for patients with IA due to Aspergillus fumigatus (49% versus 13%; P < 0.0001) or with other mold infections (49% versus 6%; P < 0.0001). However, the sensitivity range (47% to 64%) and specificity (88%) of the BG assay were comparable among all patients tested, regardless of the infecting pathogen. The performance of GM-based diagnosis appears to be better for detecting non-fumigatus Aspergillus species. The diagnostic marker BG was shown to have a higher sensitivity than that of GM in detecting IA and other mold infections in hematologic malignancy patients.

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