Blood cultures are positive for Candida
species in < 50% and < 20% of hematogenously disseminated and intra-abdominal candidiasis, respectively. Non-culture tests such as mannan, anti-mannan antibody, Candida albicans
germ tube antibody (CAGTA), 1,3-β-d
-glucan (BDG), the T2Candida nanodiagnostic panel, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) are available for clinical use, but their roles in patient care are uncertain. Sensitivity/specificity of combined mannan/anti-mannan, BDG, T2Candida and PCR for candidemia are ~80%/80%, ~80%/80%, ~90%/98%, and ~90%/90%, respectively. Limited data for intra-abdominal candidiasis suggest CAGTA, BDG sensitivity/specificity of ~65%/75% and PCR sensitivity of ~85–90%. PCR specificity has varied widely for intra-abdominal candidiasis (33–97%), and T2Candida data are lacking. Tests will be useful if restricted to cases in which positive and negative predictive values (PPVs, NPVs) differ in a clinically meaningful way from the pre-test likelihood of invasive candidiasis. In some patients, PPVs are sufficient to justify antifungal treatment, even if blood cultures are negative. In most patients, NPVs of each test are excellent, which may support decisions to withhold antifungal therapy. If test results are not interpreted judiciously, non-culture diagnostics may have unintended consequences for stewardship and infection prevention programs. In particular, discrepant non-culture test-positive/culture-negative results may promote inappropriate antifungal treatment of patients who are unlikely to have candidiasis, and lead to spurious reporting of hospital-acquired infections. In conclusion, non-culture Candida
diagnostics have potential to advance patient care, but this promise will be realized only if users understand tests’ strengths and limitations, and plan proactively for how best to employ them at their hospitals.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited