Update on the contribution of galactomannan for the diagnosis of invasive aspergillosis


Aquino VR, Goldani LZ, Pasqualotto AC

Date: 24 April 2007


The diagnosis of invasive fungal infections (IFI) remains a challenge, particularly for diseases caused by filamentous fungi such as Aspergillus species. Unfortunately, many patients affected by these conditions are not identified before autopsy. Therefore, there is a need for new diagnostic methods for IFI. Galactomannan is a soluble antigen released during hyphal growth in tissues. A commercially available sandwich ELISA assay that detects galactomannan has been used in Europe for many years and is now approved for use in the USA. The test has an excellent negative predictive value in the detection of invasive aspergillosis (IA) in high-risk patients. In addition, it is more sensitive than culture and allows IA to be diagnosed before clinical manifestations occur. However, false-negative and false-positive results in certain populations are the main limitations to its use. The purpose of this review is to summarize the current knowledge about galactomannan testing in patients at risk for IA.

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