A misleading false-negative result ofPneumocystisreal-time PCR assay due to a rare punctual mutation: A French multicenter study

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Abstract

This article describes a previously unreported mutation at position 210 (C210T) of the mitochondrial large subunit ribosomal RNA (mtLSUrRNA) gene of Pneumocystis jirovecii, which led to a false-negative result of a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay. Since the aforementioned real-time PCR assay is widely used in France, a French multicenter study was conducted to estimate the mutation frequency and its potential impact on the routine diagnosis of Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP). Through analysis of data obtained from eight centers, the mutation frequency was estimated at 0.28%. This low frequency should not call into question the routine use of this PCR assay. Nonetheless, the occurrence of the false-negative PCR result provides arguments for maintaining microscopic techniques combined to PCR assays to achieve PCP diagnosis.

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