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Comparison of performance characteristics of Aspergillus PCR in testing a range of blood-based samples in accordance with international methodological recommendations

Springer, Jan, White, P. Lewis, Hamilton, Shanna, Michel, Denise, Barnes, Rosemary Ann, Einsele, Hermann, Löffler, Juergen and Bourbeau, P. 2016. Comparison of performance characteristics of Aspergillus PCR in testing a range of blood-based samples in accordance with international methodological recommendations. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 54 (3) , pp. 705-711. 10.1128/JCM.02814-15

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Standardized methodologies for the molecular detection of invasive aspergillosis (IA) have been established by the European Aspergillus PCR Initiative for the testing of whole blood, serum, and plasma. While some comparison of the performance of Aspergillus PCR when testing these different sample types has been performed, no single study has evaluated all three using the recommended protocols. Standardized Aspergillus PCR was performed on 423 whole-blood pellets (WBP), 583 plasma samples, and 419 serum samples obtained from hematology patients according to the recommendations. This analysis formed a bicenter retrospective anonymous case-control study, with diagnosis according to the revised European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer/Invasive Fungal Infections Cooperative Group and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Mycoses Study Group (EORTC/MSG) consensus definitions (11 probable cases and 36 controls). Values for clinical performance using individual and combined samples were calculated. For all samples, PCR positivity was significantly associated with cases of IA (for plasma, P = 0.0019; for serum, P = 0.0049; and for WBP, P = 0.0089). Plasma PCR generated the highest sensitivity (91%); the sensitivities for serum and WBP PCR were 80% and 55%, respectively. The highest specificity was achieved when testing WBP (96%), which was significantly superior to the specificities achieved when testing serum (69%, P = 0.0238) and plasma (53%, P = 0.0002). No cases were PCR negative in all specimen types, and no controls were PCR positive in all specimens. This study confirms that Aspergillus PCR testing of plasma provides robust performance while utilizing commercial automated DNA extraction processes. Combining PCR testing of different blood fractions allows IA to be both confidently diagnosed and excluded. A requirement for multiple PCR-positive plasma samples provides similar diagnostic utility and is technically less demanding. Time to diagnosis may be enhanced by testing multiple contemporaneously obtained sample types.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
ISSN: 0095-1137
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 May 2017
Date of Acceptance: 30 December 2015
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2017 15:46

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