The role of desferrioxamine in dialysis-associated mucormycosis: report of three cases and review of the literature

Clin Nephrol. 1988 May;29(5):261-6.


We report 3 patients on maintenance hemodialysis who developed a fulminant, disseminated and fatal form of mucormycosis. The diagnosis was made by microscopy and culture in 1 case, yielding Rhizopus rhizopodiformis, and by post-mortem microscopy in the two other cases. These patients were receiving desferrioxamine (DFO) for aluminum overload and had no iron-overload. Ten similar patients, all (with only one possible exception) receiving DFO, have been reported from American centers. The mechanism by which DFO could precipitate mucormycosis is unsettled. The explanation might be that DFO acts as a siderophore to the Mucorales fungi. High serum levels of DFO in renal failure could enhance this mechanism. Epidemiological data, provided from an inquiry in 25 Flemish dialysis centers, support the association between DFO treatment and dialysis-associated mucormycosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Deferoxamine / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucormycosis / etiology*
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects*
  • Rhizopus


  • Deferoxamine