The spectrum of non-Candida fungal infections following bone marrow transplantation

Medicine (Baltimore). 1993 Mar;72(2):78-89. doi: 10.1097/00005792-199303000-00002.


We evaluated a consecutive series of patients who underwent bone marrow transplantation (BMT) at a single institution between 1974 and 1989 for the occurrence of a non-Candida fungal infection in the first 180 days after BMT. Of the 1186 patients, 129 (11%) patients developed a total of 138 significant non-Candida fungal infections in this period. Eight patients had multiple distinct infections. The most common isolate was Aspergillus spp. (n = 97), followed by Fusarium (n = 10), and Alternaria (n = 6). The 4 clinical subtypes of infections were minor skin or soft-tissue infections (n = 7), infections of a single organ or site (n = 61), disseminated fungal infection (n = 58), and isolated fungemia (n = 12). The respiratory tract was involved in 95% of single organ or site infections, and 84% of disseminated infections. Outcome was poor, with only 18% of patients surviving. The cause of death was directly related to the non-Candida fungal infection in 66% of patients who died. Mortality rates were significantly higher in patients with either single-organ or site infections (41%) or disseminated infections (83%). The cause-specific mortality rate was greatest following infections with Aspergillus, Chrysosporium, Fusarium, Mucor, or Scopulariopsis, in which there was a high potential for invasive disease and disseminated infection. In contrast, the cause-specific mortality rate was lowest in infections which were either isolated fungemia or were localized and amenable to surgical debridement, most often seen with those infections caused by Acremonium, Alternaria, Penicillium, and Saccharomyces. The spectrum of clinical infections caused by these uncommon non-Candida fungal isolates both in our series and in the literature is reviewed. These unusual opportunistic fungal isolates are now gaining recognition in immunosuppressed patients such as the BMT population, and have a significant impact on patient outcome. Effective therapy of non-Candida fungal infections remains difficult. Early aggressive surgical debridement appears to be important in control of localized invasive infections. Prolonged therapy with amphotericin B is the standard of care, although the role of the newer antifungal agents is not yet well-defined. Ancillary roles may also be provided by granulocyte transfusions and the colony-stimulating factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Cause of Death
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Graft vs Host Disease / complications
  • Graft vs Host Disease / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycoses / drug therapy
  • Mycoses / epidemiology*
  • Mycoses / microbiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome