Rapid Diagnosis of Central Nervous System Scedosporiosis by Specific Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction Applied to Formalin-Fixed, Paraffin-Embedded Tissue

J Fungi (Basel). 2021 Dec 27;8(1):19. doi: 10.3390/jof8010019.


Scedosporium (S.) apiospermum is a typical mold causing cerebral abscesses, often after near-drowning. Infections are associated with high morbidity and mortality due to diagnostic challenges including the need for prolonged incubation of cultures. In addition, histopathological differentiation from other filamentous fungi, including Aspergillus fumigatus, may not be possible, excluding early specific diagnosis and targeted therapy. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on tissue samples can rapidly identify fungi, leading to an earlier adequate treatment. Due to an extensive spectrum of causative fungi, broad-range PCRs with amplicon sequencing have been endorsed as the best DNA amplification strategy. We herein describe a case with brain abscesses due to S. apiospermum in a 66-year-old immunocompromised female patient. While broad-range PCR failed to identify a fungal pathogen from a cerebral biopsy demonstrating hyaline mold hyphae, specific quantitative PCR (qPCR) identified Scedosporium and ruled out Aspergillus, the most prevalent agent of central nervous system mold infection. A panel of specific qPCR assays, guided by the morphology of fungal elements in tissue or as a multiplex assay, may be a successful molecular approach to identify fungal agents of brain abscesses. This also applies in the presence of negative broad-range fungal PCR, therefore providing diagnostic and therapeutic potential for early specific management and improvement of patient clinical outcome.

PMID:35049958 | DOI:10.3390/jof8010019

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