The (1,3){beta}-D-glucan test as an aid to early diagnosis of invasive fungal infections following lung transplantation

J Clin Microbiol. 2010 Nov;48(11):4083-8. doi: 10.1128/JCM.01183-10. Epub 2010 Aug 18.


The Fungitell assay for (1,3)β-D-glucan (BG) detection in serum has been evaluated in patients with invasive fungal infections (IFIs) and healthy controls and for the early diagnosis of IFI in cancer patients. We evaluated the BG assay for the detection of IFI in lung transplant recipients. Serial serum samples were prospectively collected from patients undergoing lung transplants at Duke Hospital. Fungal infections were classified according to revised European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer/Mycoses Study Group criteria. A receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curve was generated; possible causes for false-positive and false-negative tests were investigated by linear regression analysis. Seven hundred fifty-six serum specimens from 59 subjects without IFI and 41 specimens from 14 patients with proven or probable IFI were tested. The area under the ROC curve was 0.69. Based on a 60-pg/ml positive cutoff, per-patient sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) were 64%, 9%, 14%, and 50%, respectively; per-test estimates were 71%, 59%, 9%, and 97%, respectively. The majority (92%) of patients not diagnosed with an IFI had at least one BG level of ≥60 pg/ml, and 90% had at least one BG level of ≥80 pg/ml. Respiratory colonization with mold and hemodialysis significantly affected mean BG levels. In conclusion, the accuracy of the BG test is marginal and its utility as a tool for the early diagnosis of IFI is questionable in the lung transplant population. Although the NPV of the BG test is high, the low PPV limits its utility as a screening tool for early diagnosis of IFI.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host*
  • Lung Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycology / methods*
  • Mycoses / diagnosis*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Proteoglycans
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Serum / chemistry
  • beta-Glucans / blood*


  • Proteoglycans
  • beta-Glucans
  • polysaccharide-K