Breakthrough zygomycosis after voriconazole administration among patients with hematologic malignancies who receive hematopoietic stem-cell transplants or intensive chemotherapy

Bone Marrow Transplant. 2007 Apr;39(7):425-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.bmt.1705614. Epub 2007 Feb 19.


Zygomycosis is increasingly reported as a cause of life-threatening fungal infections. A higher proportion of cases reported over the last decades have been in cancer patients, with or without hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). The new anti-fungal agent voriconazole is a recently identified risk factor for developing zygomycosis. We reviewed the clinical characteristics and outcomes of a large cohort of cancer patients who developed zygomycosis after exposure to voriconazole. Health care professionals at 13 large cancer centers provided clinical information on cancer patients with zygomycosis and prior exposure to voriconazole. Criteria for inclusion were 5 days or more of voriconazole use and diagnostic confirmation with tissue or histology. Fifty-eight cases were identified among patients with hematologic malignancies, 62% including patients who underwent a HSCT procedure. Fifty-six patients received voriconazole for primary or secondary prophylaxis against fungal infection. In addition to prior exposure to voriconazole, patients also had several of the previously established risk factors for zygomycosis. Amphotericin B was the most commonly prescribed anti-fungal therapy. Overall mortality was 73%. We conclude that zygomycosis after exposure to voriconazole is a recently described entity that is frequently fatal, despite treatment with currently available anti-fungal agents and surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amphotericin B / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pyrimidines / administration & dosage*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triazoles / administration & dosage*
  • Voriconazole
  • Zygomycosis / epidemiology*
  • Zygomycosis / etiology*


  • Pyrimidines
  • Triazoles
  • Amphotericin B
  • Voriconazole