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What is the importance of classifying Aspergillus disease in cystic fibrosis patients?

[allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis]

Aspergillus species are commonly isolated from lower respiratory tract samples of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) and markers of immunological sensation to Aspergillus are frequently encountered in this group of patients; however, the contribution of Aspergillus to CF lung disease outside of the typical complications of ABPA and aspergilloma formation remains largely unclear. Patients with CF show discretely different responses to Aspergillus, though the underlying reasons for this variation are unknown. Recent work has begun to allow us to categorize patient responses to Aspergillus based upon molecular markers of infection and immune sensitization. Aspergillus sensitization and/or airway infection is associated with worse FEV1, in CF and other patients (asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchiectasis). Classification of different clinical phenotypes of Aspergillus will enable future studies to determine the natural history of different manifestations of Aspergillus disease and evaluate the effects of intervention with antifungal therapy.