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Intern Med. 2009;48(4):195-202. Epub 2009 Feb 16.

Clinical utility of serum beta-D-glucan and KL-6 levels in Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia.

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Department of Medicine and Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, Faculty of Medicine, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa.



New serum markers (1-->3) beta-D-glucan (beta-D-glucan) and KL-6 are reported to be useful for the clinical diagnosis of Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP). However, the utility of these markers in PCP with HIV infection (HIV PCP) and without HIV (non-HIV PCP) is unknown. This study was aimed to evaluate the utility of beta-D-glucan and KL-6 for the diagnosis of PCP in patients with HIV infection (HIV PCP) and non-HIV PCP.


Retrospective study.


We reviewed the medical records of consecutive 35 patients. The serum levels of beta-D-glucan and KL-6 in HIV PCP and non-HIV PCP were comparatively evaluated. We evaluated these markers in survivors and non survivors.


The detection rates of serum beta-D-glucan and KL-6 levels in non-HIV PCP were lower than those in HIV PCP (88% vs. 100%, 66% vs. 88%, respectively). The false positive rates of these markers in both groups were similar (12%, 37%, respectively). Oxygenation index, serum albumin, and mechanical ventilation were the variables which were significantly associated with poor outcome in the univariate analysis.


In conclusion, beta-D-glucan was a reliable diagnostic marker for PCP. However, the detection rate of beta-D-glucan and KL-6 in non-HIV PCP was lower than in HIV PCP. Neither beta-D-glucan nor KL-6 was associated with the outcome of PCP.

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