A reliable diagnosis of invasive aspergillosis in patients with haematological malignancies is seldom achieved antemortem. Conventional laboratory diagnostic methods are insensitive and time-consuming, resulting in late diagnosis and treatment and contributing to unacceptably high mortality. As a result, routine antifungal prophylaxis and early empirical treatment have been recommended. However, overtreatment associated with these strategies results in increased toxicity and cost. The use of sensitive and rapid non-culture-based diagnostic assays, such as detection of Aspergillus antigens (galactomannan, beta-D-glucan) or detection of genomic DNA sequences may allow a shift in emphasis from empirical to pre-emptive therapy, especially when substantiated by suggestive radiological findings. These new tools may be used to confirm a presumed diagnosis of invasive aspergillosis, or, when used to screen high-risk patients, may identify an infection at the early stage of disease. The excellent negative predictive value of these assays should convince clinicians to withhold antifungal therapy in persistently febrile neutropenic patients with no other signs of fungal infection. On the other hand, consecutive positive results in a high-risk population should at least trigger a complete diagnostic work-up. This review will focus on the diagnostic utility as well as on the pitfalls of serial screening for the presence of circulating fungal antigens in haematology patients.