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Cancer. 1991 Aug 1;68(3):594-9.

Candida tropicalis and Candida albicans fungemia in children with leukemia.

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1
Department of Hematology-Oncology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN 38101-0318.

Abstract

The records were reviewed for all patients hospitalized at a pediatric oncology center for complications of leukemia (n = 822) or lymphoma (n = 290) during an 8-year period. The results of surveillance cultures (throat, rectal, and urine) and blood cultures were analyzed to identify cases of Candida tropicalis and C. albicans colonization and/or fungemia. None of the patients with lymphoma who had positive surveillance cultures for C. albicans (n = 89) or C. tropicalis (n = 23) had fungemia. Among patients with leukemia, significant fungal infection was documented in 12 of 107 colonized with C. tropicalis (11.2%) versus 14 of 700 (2%) colonized with C. albicans (P less than 0.001). The two groups of children with fungemia were similar in primary diagnoses (predominantly acute lymphoblastic leukemia) and in the frequency of several known risk factors for infection, including the duration of neutropenia (absolute neutrophil counts, less than 500/microliters). Patients with C. tropicalis fungemia all had disseminated disease compared with nine of 14 patients with C. albicans fungemia. Also, subcutaneous abscesses were unique to patients with C. tropicalis in this series. Two patients in each group died of their infection; central nervous system involvement was present in both fatal cases of C. tropicalis fungemia. A high index of suspicion and the early institution of appropriate antifungal therapy are critical to the successful management of these infections in patients with leukemia.

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