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Haematologica. 1999 Feb;84(2):114-8.

Fusarium infections in patients with severe aplastic anemia: review and implications for management.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Biotecnologie Cellulari ed Ematologia, University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.



The prognosis of severe fungal infections, such as fusarium infections, in patients with aplastic anemia is directly related to the recovery of bone marrow functions. In this study, in vitro anti-Fusarium activity of granulocytes was investigated, the case of disseminated infection in a child with very severe aplastic anemia is reported, and implications for management of such infective complications are discussed.


The in vitro efficiency of PMNL from three untreated, normal blood donors and from two G-CSF-treated WBC donors in contrasting the growth of the Fusarium sp strain isolated from the patient we present was measured by a 3H-glucose uptake inhibition assay and confirmed by microscopic examination.


Basic growth inhibitory activity of unstimulated PMNL on Fusarium cells was significantly enhanced in the presence of GM-CSF in all three blood donors tested. In one of the two G-CSF-treated donors, in vitro efficiency of PMNL in contrasting the growth of the fungus increased notably after G-CSF treatment. We report the case of a 3-year-old girl with very severe aplastic anemia unresponsive to conventional immunosuppressant therapy who developed a disseminated fusarium infection. The child initially responded to liposomal amphotericin B and granulocyte transfusions from G-CSF stimulated donors. Subsequently she was given a cord blood stem cell transplantation but died of disseminated infection.


Including the present case, there are only ten reports of invasive infections caused by the genus Fusarium in aplastic anemia patients and only two of the patients survived. In vitro data seem to suggest that in vivo treatment with rh-G-CSF could have a stimulatory effect on the anti-Fusarium activity of neutrophils. Despite the efficacy of granulocyte transfusions by G-CSF-stimulated donors in the temporary control of fusarium infection, treatment of the underlying hematologic disease is required to cure the infection in patients with severe aplastic anemia. Granulocyte transfusions by G-CSF-stimulated donors while awaiting bone marrow recovery following the blood stem cell transplant should be considered.

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