Interferon-gamma as adjunctive immunotherapy for invasive fungal infections: a case series

BMC Infect Dis. 2014 Mar 26;14:166. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-14-166.


Background: Invasive fungal infections are very severe infections associated with high mortality rates, despite the availability of new classes of antifungal agents. Based on pathophysiological mechanisms and limited pre-clinical and clinical data, adjunctive immune-stimulatory therapy with interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) may represent a promising candidate to improve outcome of invasive fungal infections by enhancing host defence mechanisms.

Methods: In this open-label, prospective case series, we describe eight patients with invasive Candida and/or Aspergillus infections who were treated with recombinant IFN-γ (rIFN-γ, 100 μg s.c., thrice a week) for 2 weeks in addition to standard antifungal therapy.

Results: Recombinant IFN-γ treatment in patients with invasive Candida and/or Aspergillus infections partially restored immune function, as characterized by an increased HLA-DR expression in those patients with a baseline expression below 50%, and an enhanced capacity of leukocytes from treated patients to produce proinflammatory cytokines involved in antifungal defence.

Conclusions: The present study provides evidence that adjunctive immunotherapy with IFN-γ can restore immune function in fungal sepsis patients, warranting future clinical studies to assess its potential clinical benefit.

Trial registration:

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anidulafungin
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Aspergillosis / drug therapy*
  • Candidiasis, Invasive / drug therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Echinocandins / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Interferon-gamma / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Echinocandins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Anidulafungin

Associated data