Clinically Applicable System for Rapidly Predicting Enterococcus faecium Susceptibility to Vancomycin

Hsin Yao Wang, Chia Ru Chung, Chao Jung Chen, Ko Pei Lu, Yi Ju Tseng, Tzu Hao Chang, Min Hsien Wu, Wan Ting Huang, Ting Wei Lin, Tsui Ping Liu, Tzong Yi Lee, Jorng Tzong Horng, Jang Jih Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Enterococcus faecium is a clinically important pathogen that can cause significant morbidity and death. In this study, we aimed to develop a machine learning (ML) algorithm-based rapid susceptibility method to distinguish vancomycin-resistant E. faecium (VREfm) and vancomycin-susceptible E. faecium (VSEfm) strains. A predictive model was developed and validated to distinguish VREfm and VSEfm strains by analyzing the matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry (MS) spectra of unique E. faecium isolates from different specimen types. The algorithm used 5,717 mass spectra, including 2,795 VREfm and 2,922 VSEfm mass spectra, and was externally validated with 2,280 mass spectra of isolates (1,222 VREfm and 1,058 VSEfm strains). A random forest-based algorithm demonstrated overall good classification performances for the isolates from the specimens, with mean accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity of 0.78, 0.79, and 0.77, respectively, with 10-fold cross-validation, timewise validation, and external validation. Furthermore, the algorithm provided rapid results, which would allow susceptibility prediction prior to the availability of phenotypic susceptibility results. In conclusion, an ML algorithm designed using mass spectra obtained from the routine workflow may be able to rapidly differentiate VREfm strains from VSEfm strains; however, susceptibility results must be confirmed by routine methods, given the demonstrated performance of the assay.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00913-21
JournalMicrobiology spectrum
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Antibacterial drug resistance
  • Clinical methods
  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Machine learning
  • Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry
  • Microbiology
  • Rapid detection
  • Vancomycin resistance
  • Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Ecology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology
  • Infectious Diseases


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