PATHOLOGY & ONCOLOGY RESEARCHVol. 12 No. 4, 2006

 Article

Significance of Oral Candida Infections in Children with Cancer

Márta ALBERTH1, László MAJOROS2, Gabriella KOVALECZ1, Emese BORBÁS1, István SZEGEDI3, Ildikó J MÁRTON1, Csongor KISS3

1Faculty of Dentistry, Medical and Health Science Center, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary
2Department of Medical Microbiology, Medical and Health Science Center, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary
3Department of Pediatrics, Medical and Health Science Center, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary

 

Candidiasis is common in children with cancer, particularly during periods of severe immunosuppression and neutropenia. Our aim was to study the microbiological changes in the oral cavity of children with newly diagnosed cancer. The study group consisted of 30 consecutive children and adolescents, 16 with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and 14 with solid tumors. Oral cultures to detect fungi and bacteria were conducted for all patients before treatment, during and after neutropenic episodes. In 23 patients developing fever simultaneous throat, urine and blood sampling was carried out. No pathogens were found in the cultures taken before the outset (30 cultures) or after recovery from (30 cultures) the neutropenic episodes. In the 45 oral cultures taken during the neutropenic episodes 38 (84.4%) proved positive. Fungi were the most frequently isolated oral pathogens: 33/38 yeast and 6/38 bacterial infections were identified. There was no association between the underlying malignancy and the occurrence of the positive cultures. Of the 30 patients, all 23 (76.7%) who have developed moderate-to-severe neutropenia, developed oral fungal colonization or clinically obvious fungal infection at least on one occasion during the study. In addition to oral samples, fungi were identified in 9/23 pharyngeal swabs, 6/23 urine and 1/23 blood cultures. The initial fungal pathogen was exclusively (33/33) Candida albicans. In extended severe neutropenic states, C. albicans was replaced by non-albicans species (C. kefyr, C. lusitaniae, C. sake, C. tropicalis) in 5 patients between 4 to 6 days of the neutropenic episodes. Four of the nonalbicans Candida strains were resistant to azole-type antifungal agents. Neutropenic episodes of children with cancer are associated with an increased risk of developing oral and even systemic infections with C. albicans that can be replaced by azole-resistant nonalbicans strains in prolonged neutropenia contributing to morbidity of these patients. Pathology & Oncology Research, Vol 12, Nr 4, 237-241, 2006

Key words: child; cancer; oral infection; Candida albicans; non-albicans Candida strains


Received: May 5, 2006; accepted: Sep 12, 2006
Correspondence: Csongor KISS, Department of Pediatrics, Medical and Health Science Center, University of Debrecen, 98. Nagyerdei krt. Debrecen H-4032, Hungary; E-mail: kisscs@dote.hu

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