Author(s): Krcmery V
During the last two decades, the treatment of leukaemia has changed significantly; increasing intensity of chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation have lead to profound immunosuppression, prolonged stays in hospital, vascular catheterization, administration of broad spectrum antimicrobial agents and extensive use of prophylactic antifungal drugs. All but the last of these risk factors have increased the incidence of fungal infections in leukaemic patients and have significantly changed the spectrum of pathogens in favour of non-Candida species. In major haematological centres in Europe and the US, the proportion of non-Candida yeast isolated from patients increased from 1 to 5% in 1980 to 10 to 25% after 1990. However, there are not enough data to assess whether mortality due to these species is higher than that due to Candida spp. (30-40%) or filamentous fungi (50-70%). In this article, specific risk factors and therapeutic outcome of yeast infections other than Candida spp. in leukaemia such as Malassezia furfur, Trichosporon spp., Blastoschizomyces capitatus, Rhodotorula rubra, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Clavispora lusitaniae, Cryptococcus laurentii and Hansenula anomala are reviewed. An analysis of risk factors from the National Cancer Institute, Bratislava has shown that non-Candida yeast infections (N = 15) in cancer patients are associated with leukaemia and neutropenia (P = < 0.002, 0.005), more often fatal than those caused by C. albicans (N = 51) (P < 0.006) but not non-albicans Candida (N = 34) and are associated with quinolone (P < 0.0001) and itraconazole prophylaxis (P < or = 0.05, 0.015) compared to both C. albicans or non-albicans Candida respectively.