Accuracy of BAL galactomannan in diagnosing invasive aspergillosis: a bivariate metaanalysis and systematic review

Chest. 2010 Oct;138(4):817-24. doi: 10.1378/chest.10-0488. Epub 2010 May 7.


Background: A serum galactomannan (GM) assay has been approved for diagnosing invasive aspergillosis (IA). However, the role of the BAL-GM assay has not been well established. Therefore, we conducted a metaanalysis to determine the overall accuracy of BAL-GM in the diagnosis of IA.

Methods: After a systematic review of English-language studies, the sensitivity (SEN), specificity (SPE), and positive and negative likelihood ratios (PLR and NLR, respectively) of BAL-GM for the diagnosis of IA were pooled using a bivariate metaanalysis. Hierarchic summary receiver operating characteristic curves were used to summarize overall test performance. Potential between-study heterogeneity was explored by subgroup analyses. We calculated posttest probability to evaluate clinical usefulness.

Results: Twelve reports, including 13 studies, met our inclusion criteria. The summary estimates of the BAL-GM assay for proven or probable IA were as follows: SEN, 0.90 (95% CI, 0.79-0.96); SPE, 0.94 (95% CI, 0.90-0.96); PLR, 14.87 (95% CI, 8.89-24.90); and NLR, 0.10 (95% CI, 0.04-0.24). The four summary estimates of the BAL-GM assay for proven IA were 0.94 (95% CI, 0.86-0.98), 0.79 (95% CI, 0.68-0.86), 4.41 (95% CI, 2.87-6.77), and 0.07 (95% CI, 0.03-0.09), respectively. Significant heterogeneity was present.

Conclusions: BAL-GM determination is a sensitive and specific test for the diagnosis of proven and probable IA. The measurement of BAL-GM is thus likely to be a useful tool for diagnosing IA. Further studies focused on the impact of treatment agents are needed.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / chemistry*
  • Galactose / analogs & derivatives
  • Humans
  • Mannans / analysis*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pulmonary Aspergillosis / diagnosis*
  • ROC Curve
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Biomarkers
  • Mannans
  • galactomannan
  • Galactose