Press Releases 2023

Chronic fungal infections of the lungs

Chronic pulmonary infections with molds (Aspergillus) occur more frequently in patients with a history of tuberculosis. The diagnosis of "Chronic Pulmonary Aspergillosis (CPA)" is often based on an immunological footprint of the infection, the detection of Aspergillus specific antibodies in the blood. How well the detection of this test corresponds to the actual presence of CPA has not been known until now.

The Clinical Infectious Diseases team at the Research Center Borstel, in collaboration with the CPAnet study network, has now investigated the correlation between the detection of Aspergillus specific antibodies in the blood and the actual presence of CPA.

For this purpose, blood samples from 47 patients with confirmed CPA (evidence of fungal growth or visualization of fungi under the microscope from tissue samples) were examined for the presence of Aspergillus-specific antibodies (N=47). In addition, blood samples from 303 control subjects at the Medical Clinic of the Research Center Borstel were examined. Detection of Aspergillus-specific antibodies was successful in 85% of patients with confirmed CPA. However, false-positive test results occurred in one third of the healthy control subjects.

"The results of our study confirm a high sensitivity of the Aspergillus-specific antibody test for the diagnosis of CPA," said Professor Christoph Lange, head of the clinical study at the Research Center Borstel. "However, positive test results should always be consistent with radiological findings, as false-positive test results limit the interpretation of the test."


Salzer HJF, Reimann M, Oertel C, Davidsen JR, Laursen CB, Van Braeckel E, Agarwal R, Avsar K, Munteanu O, Irfan M, Lange C for the CPAnet. Aspergillus-specific IgG antibodies for diagnosing chronic pulmonary aspergillosis compared to the reference gold standard. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2023 Sep 7:S1198-743X(23)00416-0. doi: 10.1016/j.cmi.2023.08.032. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37689265.


Prof. Dr. med. Dr. h.c. Christoph Lange 
Medical Director, Research Center Borstel, Leibniz Lungcenter 
Professor for Respiratory Medicine & International Health, Lübeck University
Parkallee 35, 23845 Borstel, Germany

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