Beta-D-Glucan in Patients with Haematological Malignancies

Malgorzata Mikulska, Elisa Balletto, Elio Castagnola, Alessandra Mularoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


(1-3)-beta-D-glucan (BDG) is an almost panfungal marker (absent in zygomycetes and most cryptococci), which can be successfully used in screening and diagnostic testing in patients with haematological malignancies if its advantages and limitations are known. The aim of this review is to report the data, particularly from the last 5 years, on the use of BDG in haematological population. Published data report mainly on the performance of the Fungitell™ assay, although several others are currently available, and they vary in method and cut-off of positivity. The sensitivity of BDG for invasive fungal disease (IFD) in haematology patients seems lower than in other populations, possibly because of the type of IFD (lower sensitivity was found in case of aspergillosis compared to candidiasis and pneumocystosis) or the use of prophylaxis. The specificity of the test can be improved by using two consecutive positive assays and avoiding testing in the case of the concomitant presence of factors associated with false positive results. BDG should be used in combination with clinical assessment and other diagnostic tests, both radiological and mycological, to provide maximum information. Good performance of BDG in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) has been reported. BDG is a useful diagnostic method in haematology patients, particularly for pneumocystosis or initial diagnosis of invasive fungal infections.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Fungi
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 7 2021


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