Comparison of serum and whole-blood specimens for the detection of Candida DNA in critically ill, non-neutropenic patients

L. Metwally*, D. J. Fairley, P. V. Coyle, R. J. Hay, S. Hedderwick, B. McCloskey, H. J. O'Neill, C. H. Webb, R. McMullan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


In contrast to the multitude of studies on fungal PCR assay methods, little work has been reported evaluating Candida PCR performance when using whole blood compared with serum in candidaemic patients. Here, a comparison of the performance of whole-blood and serum specimens using a set of real-time PCR Candida species assays is described. Specimens were collected prospectively from non-neutropenic adults who were recruited to a diagnostic clinical trial, the primary purpose of which was to verify the performance of the assays using serum; in all, 104 participants also had whole-blood specimens submitted for analysis in addition to the serum specimen. Of these participants, 10 had laboratory-confirmed candidaemia and 94 were categorized as being 'unlikely' to have invasive Candida infection. PCR results from the wholeblood specimens are presented here and compared with the results from serum specimens in this subgroup among whom both specimen types were obtained contemporaneously. All participants with candidaemia were PCR-positive from serum samples; however, only seven were PCR-positive from whole blood. All specimens from patients in the 'unlikely' category were PCR-negative in both types of specimen. Moreover, DNA extraction from serum required 1 h; extraction from whole blood required approximately 3 h. These data tentatively suggest that, overall, serum is an appropriate specimen for Candida PCR for detection of candidaemia in non-neutropenic adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1269-1272
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Medical Microbiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


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