Systemic fungal infections in patients with hematologic malignancies: indications and limitations of the antifungal armamentarium

Chemotherapy. Sep-Oct 1999;45(5):315-24. doi: 10.1159/000007222.


The rates of fungal infections have increased substantially in Europe as well as in North America. Most frequently Aspergillus spp. and Candida spp. are isolated. Despite the recent introduction of new azoles and lipid-based formulations of amphotericin B, there are relatively few randomized, controlled studies on the use of antifungal drugs in patients with hematological malignancies and invasive fungal infections. Conventional amphotericin B is considered the gold standard for the treatment of invasive fungal infections; however, adverse events limit conventional amphotericin B treatment. The newer azoles, fluconazole and itraconazole, are well tolerated; however, fluconazole has no activity against Aspergillus spp. An additional serious problem is the emerging resistance of nonalbicans Candida spp. to fluconazole. In this situation, lipid formulations of amphotericin B seem to be attractive, since the use of these drugs has been shown to be safe and effective. Considerably higher medical costs limit broader application of lipid formulations of amphotericin B. Because of the rapidly increasing incidence of serious fungal infections, we have reviewed current strategies and the role of newer antifungal drugs for the treatment of deep-organ infections.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amphotericin B / therapeutic use*
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Aspergillosis / drug therapy
  • Aspergillosis / etiology
  • Candidiasis / drug therapy
  • Candidiasis / etiology
  • Drug Resistance
  • Drug Synergism
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor / therapeutic use
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / therapeutic use
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / complications*
  • Humans
  • Mycoses / drug therapy*
  • Mycoses / etiology*
  • Neutropenia / drug therapy
  • Neutropenia / etiology


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • Amphotericin B
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor