Cryptococcosis in Patients with Cancer
Clinical Infectious Diseases
Records of 31 patients with cancer who did not have known human immunodeficiency virus infection and who developed culture-proven cryptococcosis during the period of 1989-1999 (incidence of 18 cases per 100,000 admissions) were retrospectively reviewed. Several presentations of cryptococcosis were seen, including pulmonary in 19 patients (13 of which were symptomatic), disseminated in 6, meningeal in 3, and other, less common manifestations in 3. Hematologic malignancy (in 20 patients [65%])
... patients [65%]) was the most common underlying disease. Lymphopenia was present in 19 patients (61%). Previous steroid use was noted in 16 patients (51%). The diagnosis of cryptococcosis was rarely suspected; lung and brain malignancy were frequent initial impressions. Cryptococcosis was diagnosed postmortem in only 2 cases (6%). In cases of both pulmonary and meningeal cryptococcosis, the yield of invasive diagnostic procedures was good. Antifungal treatment was heterogeneous, but only 18% of patients who received it had treatment failure. Fluconazole monotherapy was successful in 92% of patients. In conclusion, cryptococcosis is rare in patients with cancer and appears to have a relatively good diagnostic yield and therapeutic outcome.