Invasive aspergillosis: diagnosis, prophylaxis and treatment

Curr Opin Hematol. 2008 Nov;15(6):586-93. doi: 10.1097/MOH.0b013e328311890c.


Purpose of review: Invasive aspergillosis is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in hematopoietic stem cells transplant recipients. Owing to its intrinsic high mortality rate, early diagnosis and treatment are critical. This review will therefore address the most important recent advances in diagnosing, preventing and treating invasive aspergillosis in hematopoietic stem cells transplant.

Recent findings: The present review will focus on therapeutic and prophylactic aspects, with particular regard to clinical use of drugs other than voriconazole (which has a well known and consolidated role for first-line therapy), combination therapy and prophylactic regimens, particularly with posaconazole. This review will also briefly deal with the clinical role of diagnostic tests such as the detection of galactomannan in body fluids other than blood, beta-D-glucan in serum and fungal DNA by PCR in body fluids.

Summary: Galactomannan antigen detection is a rather reliable diagnostic test for invasive aspergillosis, particularly when a lower threshold of sensitivity is used. PCR is still to be validated. Liposomal amphotericin B at 3 mg/kg per day showed a similar efficacy in invasive aspergillosis as reported for voriconazole. Therapeutic drug monitoring of Aspergillus-active azoles should be implemented whenever possible in order to maximize the antifungal effect and minimize toxicity. Posaconazole showed to be active in prophylaxis, though its effectiveness in the global patient population is still controversial.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Aspergillosis / diagnosis*
  • Aspergillosis / drug therapy
  • Aspergillosis / prevention & control
  • Aspergillosis / therapy*
  • Galactose / analogs & derivatives
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Mannans / analysis


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Mannans
  • galactomannan
  • Galactose