Informing Antibiotic Treatment Decisions: Evaluating Rapid Molecular Diagnostics To Identify Susceptibility and Resistance to Carbapenems against Acinetobacter spp. in PRIMERS III

J Clin Microbiol. 2016 Dec 28;55(1):134-144. doi: 10.1128/JCM.01524-16. Print 2017 Jan.


The widespread dissemination of carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter spp. has created significant therapeutic challenges. At present, rapid molecular diagnostics (RMDs) that can identify this phenotype are not commercially available. Two RMD platforms, PCR combined with electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (PCR/ESI-MS) and molecular beacons (MB), for detecting genes conferring resistance/susceptibility to carbapenems in Acinetobacter spp. were evaluated. An archived collection of 200 clinical Acinetobacter sp. isolates was tested. Predictive values for susceptibility and resistance were estimated as a function of susceptibility prevalence and were based on the absence or presence of beta-lactamase (bla) NDM, VIM, IMP, KPC, and OXA carbapenemase genes (e.g., blaOXA-23, blaOXA-24/40, and blaOXA-58 found in this study) against the reference standard of MIC determinations. According to the interpretation of MICs, 49% (n = 98) of the isolates were carbapenem resistant (as defined by either resistance or intermediate resistance to imipenem). The susceptibility sensitivities (95% confidence interval [CI]) for imipenem were 82% (74%, 89%) and 92% (85%, 97%) for PCR/ESI-MS and MB, respectively. Resistance sensitivities (95% CI) for imipenem were 95% (88%, 98%) and 88% (80%, 94%) for PCR/ESI-MS and MB, respectively. PRIMERS III establishes that RMDs can discriminate between carbapenem resistance and susceptibility in Acinetobacter spp. In the context of a known prevalence of resistance, SPVs and RPVs can inform clinicians regarding the best choice for empiric antimicrobial therapy against this multidrug-resistant pathogen.

Keywords: Acinetobacter; beta-lactams; carbapenemases.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Acinetobacter / drug effects
  • Acinetobacter / enzymology
  • Acinetobacter / genetics*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Carbapenems / pharmacology*
  • DNA Primers
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests / methods*
  • Pathology, Molecular / methods*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Time Factors
  • beta-Lactam Resistance*
  • beta-Lactamases / genetics*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Carbapenems
  • DNA Primers
  • beta-Lactamases
  • carbapenemase