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J Infect. 2012 Jan;64(1):68-75. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2011.11.002. Epub 2011 Nov 11.

Rare opportunistic (non-Candida, non-Cryptococcus) yeast bloodstream infections in patients with cancer.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, Infection Control and Employee Health, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.



Rare opportunistic (non-Candida, non-Cryptococcus) yeast bloodstream infections (ROYBSIs) are rare, even in cancer patients.


We retrospectively reviewed all episodes of ROYBSIs occurring from 1998 to 2010 in our cancer center.


Of 2984 blood cultures positive for Candida and non-Candida yeasts, 94 (3.1%) were positive for non-Candida yeasts, representing 41 ROYBSIs (incidence, 2.1 cases/100,000 patient-days). Catheter-associated fungemia occurred in 21 (51%) patients. Breakthrough ROYBSIs occurred in 20 (49%) patients. The yeast species distribution was Rhodotorula in 21 (51%) patients, Trichosporon in 8 (20%) patients, Saccharomyces cerevisiae in 8 (20%) patients, Geotrichum in 2 (5%) patients, Pichia anomala, and Malassezia furfur in 1 patient each. All tested Trichosporon, Geotrichum, and Pichia isolates were azole-susceptible, whereas the Rhodotorula isolates were mostly azole-resistant. We noted echinocandin nonsusceptibility (minimal inhibitory concentration ≥ 2 mg/L) in all but the S. cerevisiae isolates. Most of the isolates (28/33 [85%]) were susceptible to amphotericin B. The mortality rate in all patients at 30 days after ROYBSIs diagnosis was 34%. Multivariate survival analysis revealed increased risk of death in patients with S. cerevisiae infections (hazard ratio, 3.7), Geotrichum infections (hazard ratio, 111.3), or disseminated infections (hazard ratio, 33.4) and reduced risk in patients who had catheter removal (hazard ratio, 0.1).


ROYBSIs are uncommon in patients with cancer, and catheters are common sources of them. Half of the ROYBSIs occurred as breakthrough infections, and in vitro species-specific resistance to echinocandins and azoles was common. Disseminated infections resulted in the high mortality rate.

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