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Ann Pathol. 2005 Apr;25(2):104-16; quiz 103.

[Mycoses of the head and neck].

[Article in French]

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  • 1Service d'Anatomie et de Cytologie Pathologiques, France.


In recent years, mycoses have emerged as important infections in clinical practice. This phenomenon is explained by the ever growing number of immunocompromised patients and the increasing number of people travelling in areas where fungal diseases are endemic. Head and neck infections are common in disseminated mycoses and may simulate carcinoma or cause upper airway obstruction. The most frequent causative yeasts or yeast-like organisms include Candida albicans, Cryptococcus neoformans, Histoplasma capsulatum var capsulatum, Blastomyces dermatitidis, Paracoccidioides brasiliensis and Coccidioides immitis. Other causative fungal pathogens include Aspergillus fumigatus and less frequently, Rhizopus oryzae and Rhinosporidium seeberi. Since in most cases their pathophysiology is similar, those microorganisms share a common clinical pathological presentation. Symptoms such as dysphonia or dysphagia associated with hyperplastic and ulcerative lesions on endoscopic examination should prompt biopsies. A purulent or granulomatous inflammatory tissue reaction with pseudoepitheliomatous hyperplasia warrants caution since it may lead to a mistaken diagnosis of carcinoma. The pathologist must look carefully for microorganisms with Grocott and PAS stains. The causative agent can be identified if the pathologist is aware of the risk. Positive culture is needed to institute adequate treatment.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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