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Medicine (Baltimore). 1988 Mar;67(2):77-83.

The emerging role of Fusarium infections in patients with cancer.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas, M. D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute, Houston 77030.


Infection due to Fusarium species is an increasing cause of serious potentially fatal disease in patients with cancer. We described 9 patients with infection caused by Fusarium species during a 4-year period at the M. D. Anderson Hospital. The spectrum of infections included disseminated disease in 4 patients, skin or soft-tissue infections in 3, pneumonia in 1, and fungemia in 1. All 4 patients with disseminated infection had culture- and biopsy-proven skin lesions caused by Fusarium species and the blood cultures yielded the organism in 3 of these 4 patients. Maxillary sinusitis was the presenting manifestation of Fusarium infection in 2 of these 4 patients, suggesting that paranasal sinuses are potential portals of entry for the infection. Eight patients had a hematological malignancy and 7 were neutropenic at the onset of their infection. Patients with deep-seated infections remained neutropenic and died from infection despite treatment with amphotericin B. All 5 isolates tested in vitro showed resistance to ketoconazole and miconazole, whereas 3 were susceptible to amphotericin B. Fusarium species could play a role in producing myelosuppression and fungal cultures are required to differentiate it from the more commonly encountered Aspergillus species. Fusarium species are emerging as a serious, potentially fatal, pathogen in patients with cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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