This case series highlights our experience with use of the Fungitell assay for quantifying (1,3)-β-d-glucan in cerebrospinal fluid during the current U.S. outbreak of fungal meningitis related to contaminated methylprednisolone acetate. This test may prove a useful adjunct in diagnosis and management of exposed patients.
In a previous study comparing fluconazole and itraconazole administered as antifungal prophylaxis in hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) recipients, we found that fluconazole administration concurrent with cyclophosphamide (CY)-based conditioning was associated with fewer early toxicities compared to itraconazole. Fluconazole inhibits cytochrome P450 2C9, which is involved with the activation of CY, and so might provide protection from CY-related toxicities.
To investigate this further, we compared CY and CY-metabolite data from patients who received fluconazole (n=56) concurrent with CY-containing conditioning in patients who did not (n=17). The fluconazole group had greater exposure to CY, and lower peak serum concentration of CY-metabolite 4-hydroxycyclophosphamide. In a separate cohort, we examined outcomes in patients randomized to receive either fluconazole (n=152) or placebo (n=147) concurrent with CY-containing conditioning in a prior randomized trial. Patients who received fluconazole experienced less hepatic and renal toxicity, and had lower mortality. No difference in relapsed malignancy was apparent. These data support the hypothesis that fluconazole, when co-administered with CY, decreases CY-related toxicities by inhibiting cytochrome P450 2C9 metabolism.
Invasive aspergillosis (IA) can cause significant morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised children. The galactomannan (GM) enzyme immunoassay (EIA) has been shown in adult studies to be a useful adjunct in diagnosing IA. Data on this assay in children are limited by small sample sizes and conflicting results; false-positive assays were a concern in historical studies. We sought to evaluate the GM EIA in a large cohort of children who received intensive chemotherapy and/or hematopoietic stem cell transplant. A focus was placed on evaluating the assay specificity, and the potential of measuring GM antigen in urine.
A multicenter prospective observational study in children with anticipated prolonged neutropenia was performed. Serum specimens were collected twice weekly, and urine was collected once weekly during neutropenic periods. Operating characteristics were calculated using the GM EIA optical density index cutoffs of 0.5 and 1.0 for both serum and urine specimens.
At least one serum or urine specimen was tested from 198 patients. Ten patients had one or more repeatedly positive serum specimens, while 37 patients had one or more repeatedly positive urine specimens. The specificity of serum and urine testing was 95% and 80%, respectively. Although the urine test resulted in a higher false positivity rate, it successfully identified the only case of probable IA.
Data suggest that the serum GM EIA does not provide frequent false-positive results as previously reported. Screening for galactomannan, or a related antigen in urine, needs to be further evaluated as it may be amenable to development of surveillance strategies.
Clostridium difficile is a major early infectious complication of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Infections are related to antimicrobial use, underlying host variables, and acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). C. difficile infection is associated with gastrointestinal GVHD after allogeneic HSCT.
Background. Clostridium difficile is the leading cause of infectious diarrhea among hospitalized patients and is a major concern for patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Risk factors and the natural history of C. difficile infection (CDI) are poorly understood in this population.
Methods. We performed a retrospective nested case-control study to describe the epidemiology, timing, and risk factors for CDI among adult patients who received HSCTs at our center from January 2003 through December 2008.
Results. The overall 1-year incidence of CDI was 9.2% among HSCTs performed (n = 999). The median time to diagnosis of CDI was short among both autologous and allogeneic HSCT recipients (6.5 days and 33 days, respectively). Risk factors for CDI in allogeneic HSCT recipients included receipt of chemotherapy prior to conditioning for HSCT, broad-spectrum antimicrobial use, and acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD; adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 4.45; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.54–12.84; P = .006). There was a strong relationship between early CDI and subsequent development of gastrointestinal tract GVHD in the year following allogeneic HSCT (P < .001). Gastrointestinal GVHD was also strongly associated with an increased risk for recurrent CDI (AOR, 4.23 [95% CI, 1.20–14.86]; P = .02).
Conclusions. These results highlight the high incidence and early timing of CDI after HSCT. Early timing, coupled with the noted risk of pretransplant chemotherapy, suggests that the natural history of disease in some patients may involve colonization prior to HSCT. A potentially important interplay between CDI and GVHD involving the gastrointestinal tract was observed.
Cryptococcus gattii, a pathogenic fungus historically appreciated to be endemic to tropical regions, was recognized to emerge in a more temperate zone of North America in the 1990s. Early reports focused on an outbreak that was first apparent on Vancouver Island (BC, Canada), involving both the veterinary and human population. More recently, it has been recognized that this organism is endemic to a wider geography in western North America, with recognized disease caused by unique molecular subtypes in both healthy and immunosuppressed human hosts and a variety of domestic and wild animals. A number of cases of disease caused by C. gattii isolates that are unrelated to the Vancouver Island–Pacific Northwest outbreak strains have also been recognized in different parts of the USA. As microbiology laboratories have historically not identified these organisms to the species level, our current understanding of the scope of this infection is probably an underestimate. Ongoing public health epidemiologic efforts will be facilitated by increased attention towards culture-confirmed diagnosis and species identification in clinical microbiology laboratories. Early experience presents a strong rationale for increasing diagnostic attention, with multiple clinical features that are unique to this infection, including variability in antifungal susceptibilities and a heightened need for aggressive management of inflammatory responses. Larger prospective studies to evaluate and optimize clinical management are needed.
cryptococcosis; Cryptococcus gattii; North America
Mortality associated with invasive aspergillosis (IA) remains high, partly because of delayed diagnosis. Detection of microbial exoantigens, released in serum and other body fluids during infection, may help timely diagnosis. In course of IA, Aspergillus galactomannan (GM), a well established polysaccharide biomarker, is released in body fluids including urine. Urine is an abundant, safely collected specimen, well-suited for point-of-care (POC) testing, which could play an increasing role in screening for early disease. Our main objective was to demonstrate GM antigenuria as a clinically relevant biological phenomenon in IA and establish proof-of-concept that it could be translated to POC diagnosis. Utilizing a novel IgM monoclonal antibody (MAb476) that recognizes GM-like antigens from Aspergillus and other molds, we demonstrated antigenuria in an experimental animal IA model (guinea pig), as well as in human patients. In addition, we investigated the chemical nature of the urinary excreted antigen in human samples, characterized antigen detection in urine by immunoassays, described a putative assay inhibitor in urine, and indicated means of alleviation of the inhibition. We also designed and used a lateral flow immunochromatographic assay to detect urinary excreted antigen in a limited number of IA patient urine samples. In this study, we establish that POC diagnosis of IA based on urinary GM detection is feasible. Prospective studies will be necessary to establish the performance characteristics of an optimized device and define its optimal clinical use.
We determined the echinocandin minimum effective concentration (MEC) values for caspofungin, micafungin, and anidulafungin against 288 Aspergillus isolates prospectively collected from transplant patients with proven or probable invasive aspergillosis between 2001 and 2006 as part of the Transplant-Associated Infection Surveillance Network (TRANSNET). We demonstrated that the vast majority of Aspergillus isolates had MEC values at or below the epidemiological cutoff values for caspofungin, micafungin, and anidulafungin, including those from patients who had received caspofungin.
Mucorales; Fusarium; Scedosporium; mucormycosis; non-Aspergillus; fungi; organ transplant; epidemiology; invasive mold infections; zygomycosis; fusariosis; surveillance; United States; research
Invasive aspergillosis (IA) is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in hematopoietic stem cell (HSCT) and solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate factors associated with mortality in transplant patients with IA.
Transplant patients from 23 U.S. centers were enrolled from March 2001 to October 2005 as part of the Transplant Associated Infection Surveillance Network (TRANSNET). IA cases were identified prospectively in this cohort through March 2006, and data were collected. Factors associated with 12-week all-cause mortality were determined by logistic regression analysis and Cox proportional hazards regression.
Six-hundred forty-two cases of proven or probable IA were evaluated, of which 317 (49.4%) died by the study endpoint. All-cause mortality was greater in HSCT (239/415, 57.5%) when compared to SOT patients (78/227, 34.4%; p<0.001). Independent poor prognostic factors in HSCT patients were neutropenia, renal insufficiency, hepatic insufficiency, early-onset IA, proven IA and methylprednisolone use. In contrast, white race was associated with decreased risk of death. Among SOT patients, hepatic insufficiency, malnutrition and CNS disease were poor prognostic indicators; whereas, prednisone use was associated with decreased risk of death. Among HSCT or SOT patients who received antifungal therapy, use of an amphotericin B preparation as part of initial therapy was associated with increased risk of death.
There are multiple variables associated with survival in transplant patients with IA. Understanding these prognostic factors may assist in the development of treatment algorithms and clinical trials.
Aspergillosis; transplant; Aspergillus; mortality
For decades, fungi have been recognized as associated with asthma and other reactive airway diseases. In contrast to type I-mediated allergies caused by pollen, fungi cause a large number of allergic diseases such as allergic bronchopulmonary mycoses, rhinitis, allergic sinusitis and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Amongst the fungi, Aspergillus fumigatus is the most prevalent cause of severe pulmonary allergic disease, including allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA), known to be associated with chronic lung injury and deterioration in pulmonary function in people with chronic asthma and cystic fibrosis (CF). The goal of this review is to discuss new understandings of host-pathogen interactions in the genesis of allergic airway diseases caused by A. fumigatus. Host and pathogen related factors that participate in triggering the inflammatory cycle leading to pulmonary exacerbations in ABPA are discussed.
The recently described species Aspergillus lentulus exhibits differential and reduced susceptibilities to echinocandins and other antifungal drugs in vitro. A. lentulus isolates overall are less susceptible to caspofungin, although they maintain susceptibility to anidulafungin and micafungin. Mutations or polymorphisms in fks, the gene encoding the catalytic subunit of β-1,3-glucan synthase, are known to confer decreased susceptibility to echinocandins in Candida spp. and Aspergillus fumigatus. The analysis of the A. lentulus fks sequence did not reveal a polymorphism at any of the known hot-spot regions of the gene. Caspofungin and micafungin kinetic inhibition profiles of the A. lentulus glucan synthase were comparable to those from susceptible A. fumigatus enzymes. Although the basal cell wall chitin levels in A. lentulus averaged 60% of those in A. fumigatus, echinocandin treatment promoted the increase of cell wall chitin in both organisms, indicating that A. lentulus displays a compensatory chitin response similar to that of A. fumigatus. The data suggest that differential echinocandin susceptibilities in A. lentulus are independent of the echinocandin target, Fksp, and they emphasize the potential that the drugs' capacity to inhibit the target enzyme is unequal at the cellular level.
We tested the hypothesis that changes in our transplant practice have improved outcomes over the last decade. To explore correlates of improved outcomes, we analyzed the frequency and severity of graft-versus-host disease and hepatic, renal, pulmonary and infectious complications.
During 1993–1997 and 2003–2007, 1418 and 1148 patients received their first allogeneic transplants at our Center. Outcome measures included non-relapse mortality, recurrent malignancy, overall mortality, and the frequency and severity of major complications across this decade. Components of the Pretransplant Assessment of Mortality (PAM) score were used in regression models to adjust for severity of illness at the time of transplantation.
In comparing outcomes during 1993–1997 and 2003–2007, we observed statistically significant decreases in the hazards of day -200 non-relapse mortality (by 60%), overall non-relapse mortality (by 52%), relapse or progression of malignancy (by 21%), and overall mortality (by 41%), after adjusting for components of the PAM score. Similar results were seen when the analyses were confined to patients receiving myeloablative conditioning therapy. We found statistically significant declines in the risk of more severe GVHD, disease caused by infections (viral, bacterial, and fungal), and damage to the liver, kidneys, and lungs.
We document a substantial reduction in the hazard of death related to allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation as well as improved long-term survival over the last decade. Improved outcomes appear to be related to reductions in organ damage, infection, and severe acute GVHD.
Marrow transplantation; hematopoietic cell transplantation; liver disease; kidney disease; pulmonary disease; infectious complications; graft-vs.-host disease; ursodiol; mortality; survival; comparative outcomes research
There are few data on the epidemiology and outcomes of influenza infection in recipients of solid-organ transplants. We aimed to establish the outcomes of pandemic influenza A H1N1 and factors leading to severe disease in a cohort of patients who had received transplants.
We did a multicentre cohort study of adults and children who had received organ transplants with microbiological confirmation of influenza A infection from April to December, 2009. Centres were identified through the American Society of Transplantation Influenza Collaborative Study Group. Demographics, clinical presentation, treatment, and outcomes were assessed. Severity of disease was measured by admission to hospital and intensive care units (ICUs). The data were analysed with descriptive statistics. Proportions were compared by use of χ2 tests. We used univariate analysis to identify factors leading to pneumonia, admission to hospital, and admission to an ICU. Multivariate analysis was done by use of a stepwise logistic regression model. We analysed deaths with Kaplan-Meier survival analysis.
We assessed 237 cases of medically attended influenza A H1N1 reported from 26 transplant centres during the study period. Transplant types included kidney, liver, heart, lung, and others. Both adults (154 patients; median age 47 years) and children (83; 9 years) were assessed. Median time from transplant was 3.6 years. 167 (71%) of 237 patients were admitted to hospital. Data on complications were available for 230 patients; 73 (32%) had pneumonia, 37 (16%) were admitted to ICUs, and ten (4%) died. Antiviral treatment was used in 223 (94%) patients (primarily oseltamivir monotherapy). Seven (8%) patients given antiviral drugs within 48 h of symptom onset were admitted to an ICU compared with 28 (22.4%) given antivirals later (p=0.007). Children who received transplants were less likely to present with pneumonia than adults, but rates of admission to hospital and ICU were similar.
Influenza A H1N1 caused substantial morbidity in recipients of solid-organ transplants during the 2009–10 pandemic. Starting antiviral therapy early is associated with clinical benefit as measured by need for ICU admission and mechanical ventilation.
DNA microarrays were used to analyze Candida glabrata oropharyngeal isolates from seven hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients whose isolates developed azole resistance while the recipients received fluconazole prophylaxis. Transcriptional profiling of the paired isolates revealed 19 genes upregulated in the majority of resistant isolates compared to their paired susceptible isolates. All seven resistant isolates had greater than 2-fold upregulation of C. glabrata PDR1 (CgPDR1), a master transcriptional regulator of the pleiotropic drug resistance (PDR) network, and all seven resistant isolates showed upregulation of known CgPDR1 target genes. The altered transcriptome can be explained in part by the observation that all seven resistant isolates had acquired a single nonsynonymous mutation in their CgPDR1 open reading frame. Four mutations occurred in the regulatory domain (L280P, L344S, G348A, and S391L) and one in the activation domain (G943S), while two mutations (N764I and R772I) occurred in an undefined region. Association of azole resistance and the CgPDR1 mutations was investigated in the same genetic background by introducing the CgPDR1 sequences from one sensitive isolate and five resistant isolates into a laboratory azole-hypersusceptible strain (Cgpdr1 strain) via integrative transformation. The Cgpdr1 strain was restored to wild-type fluconazole susceptibility when transformed with CgPDR1 from the susceptible isolate but became resistant when transformed with CgPDR1 from the resistant isolates. However, despite the identical genetic backgrounds, upregulation of CgPDR1 and CgPDR1 target genes varied between the five transformants, independent of the domain locations in which the mutations occurred. In summary, gain-of-function mutations in CgPDR1 contributed to the clinical azole resistance, but different mutations had various degrees of impact on the CgPDR1 target genes.
Aspergillus species are ubiquitous. We hypothesized that climatic variables that affect airborne mold counts affect the incidence of invasive aspergillosis (IA).
Patients who received hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCTs) in geographically and climatically diverse regions (Seattle, WA, and Houston, TX) were examined. Cumulative incidence function, Kaplan-Meier analysis, and Cox proportional hazards regression were performed to examine the association between IA and season. Poisson regression analysis was performed to evaluate the seasonal patterns in IA rates and association with spore counts and climate.
In Seattle, the 3-month incidence of IA was 4.6% (5.7% in allograft recipients and 0.8% in autograft recipients). During the 10-year study period, there was a decrease in the incidence of IA among allogeneic HSCT recipients, corresponding to decreased risks during the nonsummer months; receipt of HSCTs during the summer months was associated with an increased hazard for IA (hazard ratio, 1.87; 95% confidence interval, 1.25–2.81) after adjustment for other known risks. The person-month IA rate in Seattle was positively associated with environmental spore counts, which increased with high temperature and low precipitation. No seasonal effect on IA was observed in Houston, where total spore counts were lower and not variable by climate.
Climatic variables differentially affect airborne spore counts and IA risk in geographically disparate centers.
We analyzed antifungal susceptibilities of 274 clinical Aspergillus isolates from transplant recipients with proven or probable invasive aspergillosis collected as part of the Transplant-Associated Infection Surveillance Network (TRANSNET) and examined the relationship between MIC and mortality at 6 or 12 weeks. Antifungal susceptibility testing was performed by the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) M38-A2 broth dilution method for amphotericin B (AMB), itraconazole (ITR), voriconazole (VOR), posaconazole (POS), and ravuconazole (RAV). The isolate collection included 181 Aspergillus fumigatus, 28 Aspergillus niger, 27 Aspergillus flavus, 22 Aspergillus terreus, seven Aspergillus versicolor, five Aspergillus calidoustus, and two Aspergillus nidulans isolates and two isolates identified as Aspergillus spp. Triazole susceptibilities were ≤4 μg/ml for most isolates (POS, 97.6%; ITR, 96.3%; VOR, 95.9%; RAV, 93.5%). The triazoles were not active against the five A. calidoustus isolates, for which MICs were ≥4 μg/ml. AMB inhibited 93.3% of isolates at an MIC of ≤1 μg/ml. The exception was A. terreus, for which 15 (68%) of 22 isolates had MICs of >1 μg/ml. One of 181 isolates of A. fumigatus showed resistance (MIC ≥ 4 μg/ml) to two of three azoles tested. Although there appeared to be a correlation of higher VOR MICs with increased mortality at 6 weeks, the relationship was not statistically significant (R2 = 0.61; P = 0.065). Significant relationships of in vitro MIC to all-cause mortality at 6 and 12 weeks for VOR or AMB were not found.
A large aggregate collection of clinical isolates of aspergilli (n = 218) from transplant patients with proven or probable invasive aspergillosis was available from the Transplant-Associated Infection Surveillance Network, a 6-year prospective surveillance study. To determine the Aspergillus species distribution in this collection, isolates were subjected to comparative sequence analyses by use of the internal transcribed spacer and β-tubulin regions. Aspergillus fumigatus was the predominant species recovered, followed by A. flavus and A. niger. Several newly described species were identified, including A. lentulus and A. calidoustus; both species had high in vitro MICs to multiple antifungal drugs. Aspergillus tubingensis, a member of the A. niger species complex, is described from clinical specimens; all A. tubingensis isolates had low in vitro MICs to antifungal drugs.
Aspergillus fumigatus is associated with both invasive and allergic pulmonary diseases, in different hosts. The organism is inhaled as a spore, which, if not cleared from the airway, germinates into hyphal morphotypes that are responsible for tissue invasion and resultant inflammation. Hyphae secrete multiple products that function as antigens, evoking both a protective (TH1–TH17) and destructive allergic (TH2) immunity. How Aspergillus allergens (Asp f proteins) participate in the development of allergic sensitization is unknown.
To determine whether Asp f proteins are strictly associated with TH2 responses, or represent soluble hyphal products recognized by healthy hosts, human T cell responses to crude and recombinant products were characterized by ELISPOT. While responses (number of spots producing IFN-γ, IL-4 or IL-17) to crude hyphal antigen preparations were weak, responses to recombinant Asp f proteins were higher. Recombinant allergens stimulated cells to produce IFN-γ more so than IL-4 or IL-17. Volunteers exhibited a diverse CD4+ and CD8+ T cell antigen recognition profile, with prominent CD4 TH1-responses to Asp f3 (a putative peroxismal membrane protein), Asp f9/16 (cell wall glucanase), Asp f11 (cyclophilin type peptidyl-prolyl isomerase) and Asp f22 (enolase). Strong IFN-γ responses were reproduced in most subjects tested over 6 month intervals.
Products secreted after conidial germination into hyphae are differentially recognized by protective T cells in healthy, non-atopic individuals. Defining the specificity of the human T cell repertoire, and identifying factors that govern early responses may allow for development of novel diagnostics and therapeutics for both invasive and allergic Aspergillus diseases.
Recent studies have shown that there are multiple clinically important members of the Aspergillus section Fumigati that are difficult to distinguish on the basis of morphological features (e.g., Aspergillus fumigatus, A. lentulus, and Neosartorya udagawae). Identification of these organisms may be clinically important, as some species vary in their susceptibilities to antifungal agents. In a prior study, we utilized multilocus sequence typing to describe A. lentulus as a species distinct from A. fumigatus. The sequence data show that the gene encoding β-tubulin, benA, has high interspecies variability at intronic regions but is conserved among isolates of the same species. These data were used to develop a PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) method that rapidly and accurately distinguishes A. fumigatus, A. lentulus, and N. udagawae, three major species within the section Fumigati that have previously been implicated in disease. Digestion of the benA amplicon with BccI generated unique banding patterns; the results were validated by screening a collection of clinical strains and by in silico analysis of the benA sequences of Aspergillus spp. deposited in the GenBank database. PCR-RFLP of benA is a simple method for the identification of clinically important, similar morphotypes of Aspergillus spp. within the section Fumigati.
This organism should be recognized as an emerging pathogen in the United States.
Cryptococcus gattii has emerged as a human and animal pathogen in the Pacific Northwest. First recognized on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, it now involves mainland British Columbia, and Washington and Oregon in the United States. In Canada, the incidence of disease has been one of the highest worldwide. In the United States, lack of cryptococcal species identification and case surveillance limit our knowledge of C. gattii epidemiology. Infections in the Pacific Northwest are caused by multiple genotypes, but the major strain is genetically novel and may have emerged recently in association with unique mating or environmental changes. C. gattii disease affects immunocompromised and immunocompetent persons, causing substantial illness and death. Successful management requires an aggressive medical and surgical approach and consideration of potentially variable antifungal drug susceptibilities. We summarize the study results of a group of investigators and review current knowledge with the goal of increasing awareness and highlighting areas where further knowledge is required.
Cryptococcus gattii; cryptococcosis; fungi; Vancouver Island; Pacific northwest; Canada; United States; synopsis
Cryptococcus neoformans frequently causes fungal meningitis in immunocompromised patients, whereas the related species Cryptococcus gattii is restricted to tropical/subtropical regions, usually infecting immunocompetent individuals. A C. gattii outbreak that began in 1999 on Vancouver Island is now endemic, causing numerous human and veterinary infections, and has spread to mainland British Columbia. The outbreak isolates are molecular type VGIIa/major or VGIIb/minor. Since 2006, human and veterinary cases have emerged in Washington and Oregon. Multilocus sequence typing demonstrates C. gattii VGIIa and VGIIb spread from Vancouver Island to the Pacific Northwest. Clinical strains from Oregon represent a unique VGIIc genotype.
outbreak; fungal pathogen; meningitis; pneumonia; emerging infectious disease
A retrospective cohort analysis was performed to determine the impact of neutropenia on the outcome of hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) in patients with myelodysplasia (MDS). Among 291 consecutive patients, 178 (61%) had absolute neutrophil counts (ANCs) <1500/µL and 113 (39%) had ANCs ≥1500/µL within 2 weeks before HCT. Neutropenic patients more often had poor risk karyotypes (34% vs. 12%, p<0.0001) and high risk IPSS scores (37% vs. 18%, p=0.0006). After HCT, the rate of infections caused by gram-positive bacteria and invasive fungal infections was significantly increased among neutropenic patients (rate ratio [RR] 1.77, p=0.02 and RR=2.56, p=0.03, respectively), while infections caused by gram-negative bacteria were not affected (RR 1.33, p=0.53). The hazards of non-relapse mortality (NRM) [HR=1.62 (1.1–2.4), p=0.01], overall mortality [HR=1.55 (1.1–2.1), p=0.007], and infection-related mortality [HR=2.22 (1.2–4.2), p=0.01] were increased in neutropenic patients, while relapse, engraftment, and graft-versus-host-disease were not affected. After adjusting for cytogenetic risk and marrow myeloblast percentages, neutropenic patients remained at significant hazard for infection-related mortality [HR=1.94 (1.0–3.8), p=0.05], but not for overall mortality or NRM. We propose that intensified strategies to prevent infections should be implemented in MDS patients with pre-existing neutropenia who undergo HCT.
neutropenia; MDS; stem cell transplant
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are essential components of the immune response to fungal pathogens. We examined the role of TLR polymorphisms in conferring a risk of invasive aspergillosis among recipients of allogeneic hematopoietic-cell transplants.
We analyzed 20 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the toll-like receptor 2 gene (TLR2), the toll-like receptor 3 gene (TLR3), the toll-like receptor 4 gene (TLR4), and the toll-like receptor 9 gene (TLR9) in a cohort of 336 recipients of hematopoietic-cell transplants and their unrelated donors. The risk of invasive aspergillosis was assessed with the use of multivariate Cox regression analysis. The analysis was replicated in a validation study involving 103 case patients and 263 matched controls who received hematopoietic-cell transplants from related and unrelated donors.
In the discovery study, two donor TLR4 haplotypes (S3 and S4) increased the risk of invasive aspergillosis (adjusted hazard ratio for S3, 2.20; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.14 to 4.25; P = 0.02; adjusted hazard ratio for S4, 6.16; 95% CI, 1.97 to 19.26; P = 0.002). The haplotype S4 was present in carriers of two SNPs in strong linkage disequilibrium (1063 A/G [D299G] and 1363 C/T [T399I]) that influence TLR4 function. In the validation study, donor haplotype S4 also increased the risk of invasive aspergillosis (adjusted odds ratio, 2.49; 95% CI, 1.15 to 5.41; P = 0.02); the association was present in unrelated recipients of hematopoietic-cell transplants (odds ratio, 5.00; 95% CI, 1.04 to 24.01; P = 0.04) but not in related recipients (odds ratio, 2.29; 95% CI, 0.93 to 5.68; P = 0.07). In the discovery study, seropositivity for cytomegalovirus (CMV) in donors or recipients, donor positivity for S4, or both, as compared with negative results for CMV and S4, were associated with an increase in the 3-year probability of invasive aspergillosis (12% vs. 1%, P = 0.02) and death that was not related to relapse (35% vs. 22%, P = 0.02).
This study suggests an association between the donor TLR4 haplotype S4 and the risk of invasive aspergillosis among recipients of hematopoietic-cell transplants from unrelated donors.
Invasive fungal diseases are important causes of morbidity and mortality. Clarity and uniformity in defining these infections are important factors in improving the quality of clinical studies. A standard set of definitions strengthens the consistency and reproducibility of such studies.
After the introduction of the original European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer/Invasive Fungal Infections Cooperative Group and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Mycoses Study Group (EORTC/MSG) Consensus Group definitions, advances in diagnostic technology and the recognition of areas in need of improvement led to a revision of this document. The revision process started with a meeting of participants in 2003, to decide on the process and to draft the proposal. This was followed by several rounds of consultation until a final draft was approved in 2005. This was made available for 6 months to allow public comment, and then the manuscript was prepared and approved.
The revised definitions retain the original classifications of “proven,” “probable,” and “possible” invasive fungal disease, but the definition of “probable” has been expanded, whereas the scope of the category “possible” has been diminished. The category of proven invasive fungal disease can apply to any patient, regardless of whether the patient is immunocompromised, whereas the probable and possible categories are proposed for immunocompromised patients only.
These revised definitions of invasive fungal disease are intended to advance clinical and epidemiological research and may serve as a useful model for defining other infections in high-risk patients.
Invasive mold infections (IMIs) are common in individuals who have undergone hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). We sought to determine clinical and biological risk factors for different IMIs during each period (early and late) after allogeneic HSCT.
Cases of proven and probable IMI diagnosed in HSCT recipients at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Seattle, WA) from 1 January 1998 through 31 December 2002 were included. Survival was estimated with Kaplan-Meier curves, and Cox regression models were used for multivariable analyses.
During the study period, 1248 patients underwent allogeneic HSCT; 163 (13.1%) received a diagnosis of probable or proven IMI. The majority of cases were caused by Aspergillus species (88%). The incidence of IMI caused by other molds remained low (<2%) over the 4-year study period. Risk factors for IMI early after HSCT and late after HSCT differed, with host variables (age) and transplant variables (human leukocyte antigen match) predominating as early risk factors and other clinical complications (graft-versus-host disease and cytomegalovirus disease) predominating later. Biological risk factors that were important during all periods included multiple cytopenias (neutropenia, lymphopenia, and monocytopenia) and iron overload.
Risk factors for invasive aspergillosis after allogeneic HSCT are multifactorial and differ according to timing after HSCT. Increased attention should be placed on understanding the immunopathogenesis of fungal disease after HSCT.