Bacterial and Fungal Infections Promote the Bone Erosion Progression in Acquired Cholesteatoma Revealed by Metagenomic Next-Generation Sequencing

Front Microbiol. 2021 Nov 5;12:761111. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2021.761111. eCollection 2021.

Abstract

An acquired cholesteatoma generally occurs as a consequence of otitis media and eustachian tube dysfunction. Patients with acquired cholesteatoma generally present with chronic otorrhea and progressive conductive hearing loss. There are many microbes reportedly associated with acquired cholesteatoma. However, conventional culture-based techniques show a typically low detection rate for various pathogenetic bacteria and fungi. Metagenomic next-generation sequencing (mNGS), an emerging powerful platform offering higher sensitivity and higher throughput for evaluating many samples at once, remains to be studied in acquired cholesteatoma. In this study, 16 consecutive patients from January 2020 to January 2021 at the Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine (SAHZU) were reviewed. We detected a total of 31 microbial species in patients, mNGS provided a higher detection rate compared to culture (100% vs. 31.25%, p = 0.000034). As the severity of the patient's pathological condition worsens, the more complex types of microbes were identified. The most commonly detected microbial genus was Aspergillus (9/16, 56.25%), especially in patients suffering from severe bone erosion. In summary, mNGS improves the sensibility to identify pathogens of cholesteatoma patients, and Aspergillus infections increase bone destruction in acquired cholesteatoma.

Keywords: Aspergillus; acquired cholesteatoma; infection; metagenomic next-generation sequencing (mNGS); microbes.