Epidemiology of Fungal Infections in Hematological Malignancies in Italy: SEIFEM-2004 Study (Sorveglianza Epidemiologica Infezioni Fungine Nelle Emopatie Maligne).

Livio Pagano, Morena Caira, Anna Candoni, Massimo Offidani, Bruno Martino, Vincenzo Liso, Marco Picardi, Alessandro Bonini, Anna Chierichini, Rossella Fanci, Cecilia Caramatti, Rosangela Invernizzi, Andrea Gallamini, Maria Enza Mitra, Lorella Melillo

Author address: 

Hematology, Catholic University, Rome, Italy; Hematology, Udine University; Hematology, Ancona University; Hematology, Reggio Calabria Hospital; Hematology, Bari University; Hematology, Federico II University, Napoli; Hematology, Reggio Emilia Hospit


Background: To evaluate the incidence and the outcome of fungal infections in patients (pts) affected by hematological malignancies (HM). Methods: A retrospective study, conducted over 1999-2003, in pts with HM, admitted in 18 Italian Hematology divisions in tertiary cares or university hospitals, who developed proven or probable fungal infections. Results: The population included 11,802 pts: 3,012 AML (25.5%), 1,173 ALL (9.9%), 596 CML (5%), 1,104 CLL (9.4%), 1,616 MM (13.7%), 3,457 NHL (29.3%), 844 HL (7.2%). Pts who underwent HSCT were included in a different analysis. A fungal infection occurred in 538 pts, with an incidence of 4.6%; in particular we registered 346 episodes sustained by moulds (incidence 2.9%) and 193 by yeasts (1.6%). The incidence rate depends upon underlying malignancy (12.3% in AML, 6.5% in ALL, 2.7% in CML, 0.6% in CLL, 0.5% in MM, 1.6% in NHL, 0.9% in HL). Among moulds, the etiological agents were Aspergillus (310 episodes, incidence 2.8%), Mucorales (13 pts, 0.1%), Fusarium (15 pts, 0.1%), and other rare fungi (7 pts, 0.1%). Among yeasts we registered septicemia due to Candida (175 pts, 1.6%). Other yeast infections were caused by Cryptococcus (8 pts, 0.1%), Tricosporon (7 pts, 0.1%) and other rare agents (2 pts). We did not observed an increase of A.terreus infections while the number of episodes sustained by A.flavus increased from 1999 to 2003 (RR 2.10; IC95% 0.8-5.49; p-value 0.117). The overall mortality rate was 1.8%. Among 538 pts with fungal infection 39% died for this complication, with differences between aspergillosis (42%), zygomycosis (63%), fusariosis (53%) and candidemia (33%). There was not variation in mortality rate during the study period; comparing these pts with those observed in our previous studies during the period 1987-1988 we observed a significant reduction of death due to aspergillosis (RR 1.90; IC 95% 1.17-3.09), but no differences in mortality rate due to Candida. Conclusions: Our study confirms the general trends already described: infections due to moulds are more frequent than those caused by yeast. Aspergillus remains the main etiologic agent, followed by Candida. The other agents (Mucorales, Fusarium, Trichosporon) remain rare. AML represents the most frequently involved category. The mortality rate due to aspergillosis is actually about 40%, with a remarkable decrease when compared to past years; as for candidemia, we observed a reduction in the incidence, but not in the mortality rate.

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Full conference title: 

47th American Society for Haematology
    • ASH 47th (2005)