Purpose: Candida glabrata is an increasing cause of candidemia, especially at cancer and bone marrow transplant centers where fluconazole is used for antifungal prophylaxis. This yeast is less susceptible to fluconazole in vitro than is Candida albicans. We compared the characteristics of patients who had C. glabrata and C. albicans candidemia at a large cancer center.
Subjects and methods: We searched the microbiological laboratory reports and identified 116 cases of C. glabrata candidemia between 1993 and 1999. The 116 cases of C. albicans candidemia that occurred most closely in time (before or after each case of C. glabrata candidemia) served as the control group. Data were collected from patients' medical records.
Results: When compared with patients who had C. albicans infection, patients with C. glabrata candidemia more often had an underlying hematologic malignancy (68 [59%] vs. 26 [22%], P = 0.0001), had an Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II score > or =16 (55 [48%] vs. 28 [25%], P = 0.0002), and received fluconazole prophylaxis (57 [49%] vs. 8 [7%], P = 0.0001). Patients with C. albicans candidemia more often had concomitant infections (101 [87%] vs. 78 [67%], P = 0.0003) and septic thrombophlebitis (11 [10%] vs. 2 [2%], P = 0.01). Among patients treated with antifungal therapy, those with C. albicans candidemia had a significantly greater overall response to therapy (83/104 [80%] vs. 60/97 [62%], P = 0.005) and to primary therapy (74/104 [71%] vs. 45/97 [46%], P = 0.0003). Amphotericin B preparations were not more effective than fluconazole (19/45 [42%] vs. 20/38 [53%], P = 0.5) in patients with C. glabrata candidemia. Fluconazole was less effective against C. glabrata than against C. albicans (20/38 [53%] vs. 57/74 [77%], P = 0.008).
Conclusion: C. glabrata has emerged as an important cause of candidemia, especially among neutropenic patients who receive fluconazole prophylaxis.