Aspergillus is a ubiquitous soil-dwelling fungus known to cause significant pulmonary infection in immunocompromised patients. The incidence of aspergillosis has increased during the past two decades and is a frequently lethal complication of acute leukemia patients that occurs following both chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation. The diagnosis of invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) according to the criteria that are established by European Organization for the Research and Treatment of Cancer and Mycoses Study Group raise difficulties in severely ill patients. Despite established improvements in field of diagnosis (galactomannan antigen, quantitative PCR, real-time PCR for Aspergillus spp., and findings of computed tomography) and treatment with new antifungals, it is still a major problem in patients with acute leukemia. However, prompt and effective treatment of IPA is crucial because most patients will need subsequent chemotherapy for underlying hematologic disease as soon as possible.
We report a 33-year-old male patient with acute promyelocytic leukemia diagnosed in 1993 that developed invasive pulmonary aspergillosis due to A. flavus at relapse in 2003. The patient was successfully treated with liposomal amphotericin B and underwent surgical pulmonary resection. The operative course was uneventful.
This report emphasizes the clinical picture, applicability of recent advances in diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for IPA. For early identification of a patient infected with IPA, a high index of suspicion and careful clinical and radiological examinations with serial screening for galactomannan should be established. If aspergillosis is suspected, anti-aspergillosis drug should be administered immediately, and if a unique pulmonary lesion remains, surgical resection should be considered to prevent reactivation during consecutive chemotherapy courses and to improve the outcome.