Purpose: To provide real-life data on azole treatment outcomes and the role of surgery in the current management of invasive fungal rhinosinusitis complicated by orbitocranial fungal infection (OCFI).
Methods: Data was collected retrospectively from a chart review from four participating centers and a systematic literature review. The study group included patients with OCFI treated with azole antifungals. The control cases were treated with other antifungal agents. The cranial and orbital involvement degree was staged based on the imaging. The extent of the surgical resection was also classified to allow for inter-group comparison.
Results: There were 125 patients in the azole-treated group and 153 in the control group. Among the patients with OCFI cranial extension, 23% were operated on in the azole-treated group and 18% in the control group. However, meninges and brain resection were performed only in the controls (11% of patients) and never in the azole antifungals group. Orbital involvement required surgery in 26% of azole-treated cases and 39% of controls. Despite a more aggressive cranial involvement, azole-treated patients' mortality was significantly lower than in controls, with an OCFI-specific mortality rate of 21% vs. 52%. A similar, though not statistically significant, trend was found for the extent of the orbital disease and surgery.
Conclusion: Despite less aggressive surgical intervention for cranial involvement, OCFI patients treated with azoles had a higher survival rate. This finding suggests we may improve morbidity with a more conservative surgical approach in conjunction with azole treatment. The same trend is emerging for orbital involvement.