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Keywords:

  • children;
  • fungal infections;
  • hematology/oncology;
  • invasive

Abstract

Background

Data on the epidemiology and outcome of invasive fungal infections in children with cancer are limited. The aim of the study was to delineate the epidemiologic, clinical features, risk factors, and outcome of invasive fungal infections in this population.

Procedure

The medical records of all children with malignancies diagnosed with an invasive fungal infection in 1998–2006 at a tertiary pediatric medical center were reviewed for demographic, clinical, and laboratory data. Invasive fungal infection was diagnosed according to the latest EORTC/MSG criteria.

Results

Of the 1,047 children hospitalized in the hematology/oncology department during the study period, 75 (7.2%) were diagnosed with a proven (n = 16, 21.3%), probable (n = 18, 24%), or possible (n = 41, 54.7%) invasive fungal infection. Fifteen (20%) had candidemia (non-albicans in 60%), and 60 (80%) had a mold infection (non-Aspergillus in 55%). Crude mortality was 21.7%. The most common underlying diseases were myeloid leukemia (n = 26, 34.7%) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (n = 24, 32%). Compared to other malignancies, acute myeloid leukemia was significantly associated with the development of invasive fungal infections. Profound neutropenia and high treatment intensity were present in 89% and 73% of patients with IFI respectively.

Conclusions

The current mortality rates of invasive fungal infection in children with cancer are lower than previously reported in children and adults. However, the proportion of non-albicans candidemia is increasing, and non-Aspergillus molds are emerging as important pathogens, which may have important implications for prophylaxis and empiric therapy. Improved prevention, early detection, and advanced treatment strategies are needed to improve the outcome. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2011;56:1092–1097. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.