Detection of circulating candida enolase by immunoassay in patients with cancer and invasive candidiasis

N Engl J Med. 1991 Apr 11;324(15):1026-31. doi: 10.1056/NEJM199104113241504.


Background: Invasive candidiasis is a major nosocomial infection that is difficult to diagnose. Few biochemically defined markers of invasive candidiasis are known. Initial findings suggested that the presence of candida enolase in the blood may be a novel marker for invasive candidiasis.

Methods: We tested 170 patients at high risk for invasive candidiasis for candida enolase antigenemia. All the patients had cancer and neutropenia. We detected antigen using a double-sandwich liposomal immunoassay for candida enolase in serially collected serum samples. Invasive candidiasis was proved by finding candida species in deep nonmucosal tissue, blood cultures, or both. Antigen testing was performed with the investigator blinded to tissue or culture diagnosis.

Results: Among 24 patients with proved invasive candidiasis, 149 serum samples were tested for enolase antigenemia; 80 were positive and 69 negative (sensitivity per sample, 54 percent). Multiple sampling improved the detection of antigenemia, which was found in 11 of 13 proved cases of deep tissue infection (85 percent) and in 7 of 11 proved cases of fungemia (64 percent). Specificity was 96 percent as measured against control groups including patients with mucosal colonization, bacteremia, and other deep mycoses. Antigenemia was detected in the absence of fungemia in 5 cases of deep tissue candidiasis, but was not detected in 6 cases of fungemia alone.

Conclusions: Candida enolase antigenemia is a novel marker for invasive candidiasis. It may be a useful indicator of deep infection in patients with cancer and neutropenia and may complement the diagnostic usefulness of blood cultures.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Fungal / analysis
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Candida / enzymology
  • Candida / immunology
  • Candidiasis / diagnosis*
  • Candidiasis / enzymology
  • Cross Infection / diagnosis*
  • Cross Infection / enzymology
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Neutropenia / complications
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase / blood*
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase / immunology


  • Antigens, Fungal
  • Biomarkers
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase