Impact of Changes of the 2020 Consensus Definitions of Invasive Aspergillosis on Clinical Trial Design: Unintended Consequences for Prevention Trials?



Consensus definitions for the diagnosis of invasive fungal diseases (IFDs) were updated in 2020 to increase the certainty of IFD for inclusion in clinical trials, for instance by increasing biomarker cutoff limits to define positivity. To date, there is a paucity of data as to the impact of the revised definitions on clinical trials.


In this study, we sought to determine the impact of the new definitions on classifying invasive aspergillosis (IA), the most common invasive mold disease in immunocompromised patients. We reclassified 226 proven and probable IA cases plus 139 possible IFD cases in the Aspergillus Technology Consortium (AsTeC) and in an antifungal prophylaxis trial (BMT CTN 0101) using the new criteria.


Fewer cases met the more stringent diagnostic 2020 criteria after applying the reclassification criteria to define probable IA. Of 188 evaluable probable cases, 41 (22%) were reclassified to 40 possible IA and 1 probable IFD. Reclassification to possible IFD occurred in 22% of hematologic malignancy (HM) patients, 29% of hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) patients, and in no lung transplant (LT) patients. Date of diagnosis was established a median (range) of 3 (1-105) days later in 15% of probable IA cases using the new criteria. Applying the new definitions to the BMT CTN 0101 trial, the power to detect the same odds ratio decreased substantially.


The updated IA consensus definitions may impact future trial designs, especially for antifungal prophylaxis studies.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Wingard, John R, Barbara D Alexander, Lindsey R Baden, Min Chen, Michele W Sugrue, Helen L Leather, Angela M Caliendo, Cornelius J Clancy, et al. (2021). Impact of Changes of the 2020 Consensus Definitions of Invasive Aspergillosis on Clinical Trial Design: Unintended Consequences for Prevention Trials?. Open forum infectious diseases, 8(10). p. ofab441. 10.1093/ofid/ofab441 Retrieved from

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Barbara Dudley Alexander

Professor of Medicine

Clinical research related to infectious complications of solid organ and bone marrow transplantation, with a particular interest in the treatment and rapid diagnosis of fungal disease. Training the next generation of Transplant Infectious Disease Physicians is a special focus of mine as the Principal Investigator of our Interdisciplinary T32 Training Program funded the NIH. 

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