Galactomannan antigen testing for diagnosis of invasive aspergillosis in pediatric hematology patients

Brian T. Fisher, Theoklis E. Zaoutis, Julie R. Park, Marie Bleakley, Janet A. Englund, Christine Kane, Robert J. Arceci, Eva Guinan, Franklin O. Smith, Xianqun Luan, Kieren A. Marr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objective: Invasive aspergillosis (IA) can cause significant morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised children. The galactomannan (GM) enzyme immunoassay (EIA) has been shown in adult studies to be a useful adjunct in diagnosing IA. Data on this assay in children are limited by small sample sizes and conflicting results; false-positive assays were a concern in historical studies.We sought to evaluate the GMEIA in a large cohort of children who received intensive chemotherapy and/or hematopoietic stem cell transplant. A focus was placed on evaluating the assay specificity, and the potential of measuring GMantigen in urine. Methods: A multicenter prospective observational study in children with anticipated prolonged neutropenia was performed. Serum specimens were collected twice weekly, and urine was collected once weekly during neutropenic periods. Operating characteristics were calculated using the GM EIA optical density index cutoffs of 0.5 and 1.0 for both serum and urine specimens. Results: At least one serum or urine specimen was tested from 198 patients. Ten patients had one or more repeatedly positive serum specimens, while 37 patients had one or more repeatedly positive urine specimens. The specificity of serum and urine testing was 95% and 80%, respectively. Although the urine test resulted in a higher false positivity rate, it successfully identified the only case of probable IA. Conclusions: Data suggest that the serum GM EIA does not provide frequent false-positive results as previously reported. Screening for galactomannan, or a related antigen in urine, needs to be further evaluated as it may be amenable to development of surveillance strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-111
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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