Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in patients with active fungal infection: Not a contraindication for transplantation

Aki Z. S. , Sucak G. T. , Yegin Z. A. , Guzel Ö., Erbas G., Senol E.

TRANSPLANTATION PROCEEDINGS, vol.40, no.5, pp.1579-1585, 2008 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


Increasing use of more aggressive treatment approaches in patients with hematologic malignancies leads to an increased frequency of invasive fungal infections, which is a major cause of transplant-related mortality in hematopoietic stem cell recipients. In this respect, the presence of an active fungal infection prior to transplantation may hinder subsequent hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT); which sometimes is the only curative treatment. We report here the results of 13 consecutive patients transplanted with active fungal infection. Thirteen patients (7 males and 6 females) with a median age of 34 years (range, 16-53 years) underwent 15 HSCT between September 2003 and April 2007. In this group of 15 patients, consisting of hematologic malignancies with high risk of relapse or severe aplastic anemia, 11 (73%) transplants performed in subjects with active invasive fungal infection (IFI) patients survived 30 days after transplantation. Three patients (1 patient with primary disease relapse, 1 patient with graft versus host disease [GVHD] complicated with fungal pneumonia, and 1 patient with severe sinusoidal obstruction syndrome and GVHD complicated with aspiration pneumonia) died on days +66, +74, and +62 posttransplantation, respectively, within the first 100 days of HSCT. After a median follow-up time of 306 days (range, 145-680 days), four of 13 (31%) patients with active IFI were alive and disease free. Among a population of HSCT recipients with a dismal prognosis without transplantation, performing the procedure despite active IFI saved a considerable proportion of the patients. The presence of active IFI did not seem to be an absolute contraindication for HSCT, particularly among high-risk patients in whom a treatment delay could be fatal.