Towards a molecular diagnosis of invasive aspergillosis and disseminated candidosis

FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2005 Sep 1;45(3):361-8. doi: 10.1016/j.femsim.2005.05.012.


A lot of in-house polymerase chain reaction assays have been reported for diagnosis of invasive aspergillosis and disseminated candidosis. Encouraging results have been published to anticipate the diagnosis over the conventional microbiological methods. However, the absence of standardized methods has led to diverging results. As a consequence, these tests are not recognized as consensual diagnostic criteria, in contrast with some antigenemia detection kits. The major breakthrough for improving the results of these methods is the emergence of real-time technologies. This markedly improves the reliability of the PCR results by dramatically decreasing the risk of false positive results due to PCR products carryover. Moreover, using the quantitative results provided by this technique, this allows to rapidly compare the efficiency of primers, probes, and DNA extraction methods. Therefore, the hope is to identify the more specific and sensitive parameters to implement comparative studies. Automated DNA extraction should also be useful to achieve this goal. Whatever sophisticated technology is used, we still have to define the meaning of detecting nucleic acids in a given clinical sample. This seems simple in normally sterile anatomical sites but less obvious for example in respiratory specimens for invasive aspergillosis or in blood for candidosis in heavily colonized patients. Additional studies of the kinetics of fungal DNA are needed. The development of real-time technology should improve our knowledge in order to give the clinicians informative clues for making a decision.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aspergillosis / diagnosis*
  • Aspergillosis / microbiology
  • Aspergillus / classification
  • Aspergillus / genetics
  • Aspergillus / isolation & purification*
  • Candida / classification
  • Candida / genetics
  • Candida / isolation & purification*
  • Candidiasis / diagnosis*
  • Candidiasis / microbiology
  • DNA, Fungal / analysis*
  • DNA, Fungal / isolation & purification
  • Fungemia / diagnosis
  • Fungemia / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Fungal / diagnosis
  • Lung Diseases, Fungal / microbiology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*


  • DNA, Fungal