Prevalence of Aspergillus sensitization and allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis in cystic fibrosis: systematic review and meta-analysis

Clin Exp Allergy. 2015 Dec;45(12):1765-78. doi: 10.1111/cea.12595.


Background: The prevalence of Aspergillus sensitization (AS) and allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) in cystic fibrosis (CF) has been varyingly reported. The aim of this systematic review was to estimate the overall prevalence of AS/ABPA in CF.

Methods: We searched the PubMed and EmBase databases for studies reporting the prevalence of AS/ABPA in CF. We calculated the proportion with 95% confidence interval (CI) to assess the prevalence of AS and ABPA in the individual studies and then pooled the results using a random effects model. Statistical heterogeneity was assessed using the I2 test while publication bias was assessed using both graphical and statistical methods.

Results: Our search yielded 64 eligible studies. The pooled prevalence of AS was 39.1% (95% CI: 33.3-45.1) and was higher with skin test compared to specific IgE (43.8% vs. 32.8%, P = 0.002); however, the prevalence did not vary with the type of skin test used (intradermal or percutaneous). The prevalence of ABPA was 8.9% (95% CI: 7.4-10.7) and was higher in adults as compared to children (10.1% vs. 8.9%, P < 0.0001). There was a wide variation in the criteria used for diagnosing ABPA. Almost 50% (12/23) of the publications after 2004 used criteria other than the CF foundation criteria for diagnosing ABPA. There was significant statistical heterogeneity and evidence of publication bias.

Conclusions: There is a high prevalence of AS and ABPA in patients with CF. Despite six decades of research, there is still a need to adopt uniform methodology and criteria for the diagnosis of AS/ABPA.

Keywords: Aspergillus; allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis; fungal sensitization; meta-analysis; prevalence.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aspergillosis, Allergic Bronchopulmonary / epidemiology*
  • Aspergillosis, Allergic Bronchopulmonary / etiology*
  • Aspergillus / immunology*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Immunization*
  • Prevalence