Systematic review and meta-analysis of detecting galactomannan in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid for diagnosing invasive aspergillosis

PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e43347. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0043347. Epub 2012 Aug 14.


Background: Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) galactomannan (GM) assay has been used for diagnosing invasive aspergillosis (IA). We aimed to derive a definitive estimate of the overall accuracy of BAL-GM for diagnosing IA.

Methods and results: We undertook a systematic review of thirty diagnostic studies that evaluated the BAL-GM assay for diagnosing IA. PubMed and CBM (China Biological Medicine Database) databases were searched for relevant studies published in all languages up until Feb 2012. The pooled diagnostic odds ratio (DOR) and summary receiver operating characteristic (SROC) were constructed for each cutoff value. Additionally, pooled sensitivity (SEN), specificity (SPE), and positive and negative likelihood ratios (PLR and NLR, respectively) were calculated for summarizing overall test performance. Thirty studies were included in this meta-analysis. The summary estimates of pooled DOR, SEN, SPE, PLR, and NLR of the BAL-GM assay (cutoff value 0.5) for proven or probable IA were 52.7 (95% confidence interval (CI) 31.8-87.3), 0.87 (95% CI 0.79-0.92), 0.89 (95% CI 0.85-0.92), 8.0 (95% CI 5.7-11.1) and 0.15 (95% CI 0.10-0.23) respectively. The SROC was 0.94 (95% CI 0.92-0.96). Compared with cutoff value of 0.5, it has higher DOR, SPE and PLR, and similar SEN and NLR with cutoff value of 1.0, which indicated the optimal cutoff value might be 1.0. Compared with BAL-GM, serum GM has a lower SEN and higher SPE, while PCR displays a lower SEN and a similar SPE.

Conclusion: With the optimal cutoff value of 1.0, the BAL-GM assay has higher SEN compared to PCR and serum GM test. It is a useful adjunct in the diagnosis of proven and probable IA.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine / methods*
  • Galactose / analogs & derivatives
  • Humans
  • Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis / diagnosis*
  • Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis / metabolism*
  • Mannans / biosynthesis*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Probability
  • ROC Curve
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Mannans
  • galactomannan
  • Galactose

Grant support

The authors have no support or funding to report.