Antifungal and surgical treatment of invasive aspergillosis: review of 2,121 published cases

Rev Infect Dis. Nov-Dec 1990;12(6):1147-201. doi: 10.1093/clinids/12.6.1147.


No controlled trials of therapy for invasive aspergillosis have been done. This review appraises 2,121 cases reported in 497 articles in the literature and analyzes 440 courses of treatment of infection at various body sites in 379 patients. The exclusion of early failures of therapy skews the results toward a favorable outcome. The rate of response to amphotericin B is 55%. Mortality from pulmonary aspergillosis in bone marrow transplant recipients exceeds 94% regardless of therapy, as does that from cerebral aspergillosis in all hosts. Amphotericin B (1 mg/[kg.d]) with flucytosine lowers mortality in neutropenic patients with pulmonary aspergillosis who did not receive a bone marrow transplant; relapse is common. Surgical debridement of aspergillus maxillary sinusitis is usually curative in nonimmunocompromised patients, whereas it increases mortality among neutropenic patients. Valve replacement is essential for aspergillus endocarditis. Both vitrectomy and intravitreal amphotericin B treatment are essential for aspergillus endophthalmitis. Flucytosine is somewhat useful clinically. Itraconazole shows efficacy in the treatment of pulmonary, skeletal, and pericardial aspergillosis. Although liposomal amphotericin B is less toxic than standard preparations of the drug, relevant data are limited. The proposed potentiation of amphotericin B by rifampin is unsupported by clinical data. Despite "conventional" therapy, mortality from invasive aspergillosis remains high; new approaches must be investigated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amphotericin B / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Aspergillosis / drug therapy*
  • Aspergillosis / surgery
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Flucytosine / therapeutic use
  • Humans


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Amphotericin B
  • Flucytosine