Cryptococcosis in the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome

Ann Intern Med. 1985 Oct;103(4):533-8. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-103-4-533.


The clinical course and response to therapy of 27 patients with cryptococcosis and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome were reviewed. Cryptococcosis was the initial manifestation of the syndrome in 7 patients, and the initial opportunistic infection in an additional 7. Meningitis was the commonest clinical feature (18 patients). Blood cultures and serum cryptococcal antigen were frequently positive. In patients with meningitis, leukocyte count, protein level, and glucose level in cerebrospinal fluid were frequently normal; cerebrospinal fluid India ink test (82%), culture (100%), and cryptococcal antigen (100%) were usually positive. Only 10 of 24 patients had no evidence of clinical activity of cryptococcal infection after completion of therapy; 6 of these 10 had relapses shown by clinical findings or at autopsy. Standard courses of amphotericin B alone or combined with flucytosine were ineffective. Cryptococcosis in patients with the syndrome is a debilitating disease that does not respond to conventional therapy; earlier diagnosis or long-term suppressive therapy may improve the prognosis.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / complications*
  • Amphotericin B / adverse effects
  • Amphotericin B / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Fungal / analysis
  • Antigens, Fungal / analysis
  • Cryptococcosis / diagnosis
  • Cryptococcosis / drug therapy
  • Cryptococcosis / etiology*
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / isolation & purification
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Encephalitis / etiology
  • Flucytosine / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Meningitis / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Meningitis / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Serologic Tests


  • Antibodies, Fungal
  • Antigens, Fungal
  • Amphotericin B
  • Flucytosine