Clinical and laboratory considerations of culture vs antigen assays for detection of Chlamydia trachomatis from genital specimens

Arch Pathol Lab Med. 1989 May;113(5):453-60.


Assays for Chlamydia trachomatis antigen are being increasingly used in lieu of traditional cell culture methods for detection of the organism in patient specimens. While results from these assays are available considerably earlier than are those from culture, the assays have been less sensitive and specific than culture when used in some patient populations. This review summarizes results from investigations into the performance of culture and the two most widely used antigen assays, documents factors that can contribute to false-positive or false-negative results, and, in light of these factors, makes recommendations for the selection of methods for detection of C trachomatis from genital specimens.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Bacterial / analysis
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cervix Uteri / cytology
  • Cervix Uteri / microbiology*
  • Chlamydia Infections / diagnosis
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / immunology
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / isolation & purification*
  • Colony Count, Microbial / methods*
  • Colony Count, Microbial / standards
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay / methods*
  • Immunoassay / standards
  • Male
  • Urethra / cytology
  • Urethra / microbiology*


  • Antigens, Bacterial