Background: Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP) causes substantive morbidity in immunocompromised patients. The EORTC/MSGERC convened an expert group to elaborate consensus definitions for Pneumocystis disease for the purpose of interventional clinical trials and epidemiological studies and evaluation of diagnostic tests.
Methods: Definitions were based on the triad of host factors, clinical-radiologic features, and mycologic tests with categorization into probable and proven Pneumocystis disease, and to be applicable to immunocompromised adults and children without human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Definitions were formulated and their criteria debated and adjusted after public consultation. The definitions were published within the 2019 update of the EORTC/MSGERC Consensus Definitions of Invasive Fungal Disease. Here we detail the scientific rationale behind the disease definitions.
Results: The diagnosis of proven PCP is based on clinical and radiologic criteria plus demonstration of P. jirovecii by microscopy using conventional or immunofluorescence staining in tissue or respiratory tract specimens. Probable PCP is defined by the presence of appropriate host factors and clinical-radiologic criteria, plus amplification of P. jirovecii DNA by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in respiratory specimens and/or detection of β-d-glucan in serum provided that another invasive fungal disease and a false-positive result can be ruled out. Extrapulmonary Pneumocystis disease requires demonstration of the organism in affected tissue by microscopy and, preferably, PCR.
Conclusions: These updated definitions of Pneumocystis diseases should prove applicable in clinical, diagnostic, and epidemiologic research in a broad range of immunocompromised patients without HIV.
Keywords: Pneumocystis; adults; cancer; children; clinical trials; consensus; definitions; transplantation.
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