Measurement of cryptococcal antigen in serum and cerebrospinal fluid: value in the management of AIDS-associated cryptococcal meningitis

Clin Infect Dis. 1994 May;18(5):789-92. doi: 10.1093/clinids/18.5.789.


The value of monitoring titers of cryptococcal antigen in serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) during therapy for AIDS-associated cryptococcal meningitis was evaluated. Baseline and final titers of antigen in serum and CSF from participants in two studies of such therapy were categorized as increased (a rise of at least two dilutions), unchanged, or decreased (a fall of at least two dilutions). There was no correlation between outcome and changes in serum titers of cryptococcal antigen during treatment for acute meningitis or during suppressive therapy. During therapy for acute infection, an unchanged or increased titer of antigen in CSF was correlated with clinical and microbiological failure to respond to treatment; the correlation was especially strong among patients whose baseline titer of antigen was > or = 1:8 (P = .01). A rise in CSF antigen titer during suppressive therapy was associated with relapse of cryptococcal meningitis (P < .001). We conclude that serial monitoring of cryptococcal antigen, as conducted in these studies, has a limited role in the management of AIDS patients with cryptococcal meningitis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / blood
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / cerebrospinal fluid
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / drug therapy
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / microbiology*
  • Acute Disease
  • Amphotericin B / therapeutic use*
  • Antigens, Fungal / analysis*
  • Antigens, Fungal / blood
  • Antigens, Fungal / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / immunology*
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / isolation & purification
  • Fluconazole / therapeutic use*
  • Fungemia / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Meningitis, Cryptococcal / blood
  • Meningitis, Cryptococcal / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Meningitis, Cryptococcal / drug therapy
  • Meningitis, Cryptococcal / microbiology*
  • Polysaccharides / analysis*
  • Polysaccharides / blood
  • Polysaccharides / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Prognosis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antigens, Fungal
  • Biomarkers
  • Polysaccharides
  • cryptococcal polysaccharide
  • Amphotericin B
  • Fluconazole