Invasive aspergillosis. Disease spectrum, treatment practices, and outcomes. I3 Aspergillus Study Group

Medicine (Baltimore). 2000 Jul;79(4):250-60. doi: 10.1097/00005792-200007000-00006.


A review of representative cases of invasive aspergillosis was conducted to describe current treatment practices and outcomes. Eighty-nine physicians experienced with aspergillosis completed case forms on 595 patients with proven or probable invasive aspergillosis diagnosed using modifications of the Mycoses Study Group criteria. Pulmonary disease was present in 56%, with disseminated infection in 19%. The major risk factors for aspergillosis were bone marrow transplantation (32%) and hematologic malignancy (29%), but patients had a variety of underlying conditions including solid organ transplants (9%), AIDS (8%), and pulmonary diseases (9%). Overall, high antifungal failure rates occurred (36%), and complete antifungal responses were noted in only 27%. Treatment practices revealed that amphotericin B alone (187 patients) was used in most severely immunosuppressed patients while itraconazole alone (58 patients) or sequential amphotericin B followed by itraconazole (93 patients) was used in patients who were less immunosuppressed than patients receiving amphotericin B alone. Response rate for patients receiving amphotericin B alone was poor, with complete responses noted in only 25% and death due to or with aspergillosis in 65%. In contrast, patients receiving itraconazole alone or following amphotericin B had death due to or with Aspergillus in 26% and 36%, respectively. These results confirm that mortality from invasive aspergillosis in severely immunosuppressed patients remains high even with standard amphotericin B. Improved responses were seen in the less immunosuppressed patients receiving sequential amphotericin B followed by itraconazole and those receiving itraconazole alone. New approaches and new therapies are needed to improve the outcome of invasive aspergillosis in high-risk patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amphotericin B / therapeutic use*
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Aspergillosis* / drug therapy
  • Aspergillosis* / epidemiology
  • Aspergillosis* / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Itraconazole / therapeutic use*
  • Lung Diseases, Fungal* / drug therapy
  • Lung Diseases, Fungal* / epidemiology
  • Lung Diseases, Fungal* / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Itraconazole
  • Amphotericin B