Pneumocystis DNA detection by PCR

single page view

General Information

Lab Name
Pneumocystis DNA detection by PCR
Lab Code
Epic Ordering
Pneumocystis DNA detection by PCR

Detection of Pneumocystis jirovecii (previously Pneumocystis carinii) DNA.

Pneumocystis jirovecii (formerly Pneumocystis carinii) is an opportunistic fungal pathogen which can cause pneumonia in patients with impaired immune systems, such as those with AIDS or who are receiving immunosuppressive drugs. It is important to accurately identify the presence of Pneumocystis in immunocompromised patients for the implementation of proper therapy. Conventional diagnosis is based on direct microscopic examination of respiratory specimens, but these methods can often be difficult to interpret. PCR allows for more definitive detection of Pneumocystis in clinical specimens.

The UWMC Molecular Diagnosis laboratory utilizes a real-time PCR protocol with fluorescent probes targeted to the Kex-1 gene to identify Pneumocystis jirovecii in clinical specimens. Pneumocystis PCR detects Pneumocystis jirovecii with higher sensitivity than the broad-range fungal PCR. The analytic sensitivity is 6 genomes per PCR reaction.

For more information on this test, to download a requisition form, and for a list of acceptable and unacceptable specimens, please refer to: Molecular Diagnosis Microbiology Section Website

molecular PCP, molecular PJP, molecular Pneumocystis, PCP, PCP detection, PCP identification, PCP PCR, PCP sequencing, PJP, PJP detection, PJP identification, PJP PCR, PJP sequencing, Pneumocystis carinii PCR, Pneumocystis detection, Pneumocystis identification, Pneumocystis jiroveci, Pneumocystis jirovecii PCR, Pneumocystis PCR, Pneumocystis sequencing, universal PCR



DNA extraction, nucleic acid purification, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), sequencing

Reference Range
See individual components

Ordering & Collection

Specimen Type
Tissue (Fresh frozen or paraffin-embedded), Fluid (see Acceptable Specimens for details)

Acceptable specimens are listed below. Please see this page for complete specimen collection and handling instructions.

Specimens should be collected into a DNA free container labeled with at least two identifiers.

Acceptable Specimens

  • Fresh frozen tissue
  • Fresh frozen fluid: any body fluid is acceptable if it is not listed under Unacceptable Specimens. See common examples below.
  • Formalin Fixed Paraffin-embedded tissues (FFPE, PET): blocks, scrolls, and unstained slides are acceptable
  • eSwabs and UTM (universal transport media)
  • Sodium polyanethol sulfonate (SPS, Wampole Isolator Tubes) acceptable with disclaimer

Common acceptable body fluid examples: cerebrospinal fluid, pleural fluid, pericardial fluid, urine, bronchial lavage, joint fluid, bone marrow, vitreous fluid, etc.

Additional Acceptable Specimens

  • Sputum

Unacceptable Specimens

  • Blood, serum, plasma, stool
  • No citrated or heparinized solutions
  • Tissues floating in formalin
  • Swab/fluid collected in tube containing agar
Handling Instructions

Fresh frozen tissue/fluid specimens should be submitted and maintained on dry ice.

Formalin Fixed Paraffin-embedded tissues (FFPE, PET) can be sent ambient or with ice packs during warmer summer months to prevent melting.

Optimal Quantity:

  • Fresh Tissue: 0.3-1.0 cm^3
  • Fluid: 0.2-1 mL
  • Formalin Fixed Paraffin-embedded Tissue (FFPE/PET): blocks are preferred and will be sent back to client upon completion of testing
  • Scrolls/unstained slides: cross-sectional area >1cm^2 send 10 sections of 10µm thickness, if <1cm^2 send 20 sections if available

Please note: We do not need a separate specimen aliquot for each test ordered. Only a single specimen aliquot or block of optimal quantity is necessary for performing multiple tests. If multiple aliquots or blocks of optimal quantity are sent, up to 2 will be pooled.

requested: See Optimal Quantity above
minimum: Specimens below optimal quantity are acceptable for testing, however, diagnostic yield is generally proportional to specimen size.



UWMC/HMC – store and send specimen refrigerated and freeze specimens at -20°C upon arrival in UW-ML Microbiology. If specimen storage and transport will exceed 8 hours, freeze at -20°C.

Freeze specimens at -20°C upon arrival

Outside Laboratories: Freeze specimens in sterile containers at -20°C. Transport all specimens on dry ice.


LIS Dept Code
Micro Molecular Diag (MMD)
Performing Location(s)
UW-MT Microbiology, Molecular Diagnostics

Clinical Lab, Room # NW177,
University of Washington Medical Center,
1959 NE Pacific street, Seattle, WA 98195

Fresh frozen tissues/fluids result in 2-3 business days after receipt of specimen. Formalin Fixed Paraffin-embedded tissues result in 3-4 business days after receipt of specimen.
Available STAT?

Billing & Coding

CPT codes
Interfaced Order Code