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Prevalence of invasive fungal disease in hematological patients at a tertiary university hospital in Singapore

Siok-Ying Lee1, Chay-Leng Yeo2, Winnie H Lee3, Andrea L Kwa3, Liang-Piu Koh4 and Li-Yang Hsu5*

Author Affiliations

1 Pharmacy Department, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Yishun Central, Singapore

2 Pharmacy Department, National University Hospital, Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore

3 Pharmacy Department, Singapore General Hospital, Outram Road, Singapore

4 Department of Hematology, Oncology, National University Hospital, Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore

5 Department of Infectious Disease, National University Hospital, Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:42  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-42

Published: 28 February 2011



The use of newer azoles as prophylaxis in hematological patients undergoing stem cell transplantation or immunosuppressive chemotherapy has been shown to decrease the risk of developing invasive fungal disease (IFD). However, the cost-effectiveness of such a strategy is dependent on the local epidemiology of IFD. We conducted an audit of hematological patients with IFD in our institution in order to derive the prevalence and types of IFD that occur locally.


We conducted a retrospective chart review of all hematological patients who developed possible, probable or definite IFD according to EORTC/MSG criteria in the period from Oct 2007 to Apr 2010. The prevalence of IFD was determined via correlation with institutional database records of all hematological patients treated at our institution over the same time period.

There were 39 cases of IFD diagnosed during the study period, with 8 (20.5%) possible, 19 (48.7%) probable and 12 (30.8%) definite cases of IFD. Aspergillus spp. accounted for 83.9% of all probable and definite infections. There was 1 case each of Rhinocladelia spp., Coprinopsis cinerea, Exserohilum spp. sinusitis and Rhizopus spp. sinusitis. IFD occurred in 12 of 124 (9.7%) AML and 4 of 103 (3.9%) ALL patients treated at our institution respectively. There were 10 (16.1%) infections among 62 allogeneic HSCT recipients, six of whom were having concurrent graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Five other cases occurred after allogeneic HSCT failure, following salvage chemotherapy for disease relapse. The prevalence of IFD during induction chemotherapy was 8.9% (11 of 124 cases) for AML and 1.0% (1 of 103 cases) for ALL. Fluconazole prophylaxis had been provided for 28 out of the 39 (71.8%) cases, while 4 (10.3%) were on itraconazole prophylaxis. The in-hospital mortality was 28.2% (11 of 39 cases), of which 5 (12.8%) deaths were attributed to IFD.


The burden of IFD is high in our institution, especially in allogeneic HSCT recipients and patients on induction chemotherapy for AML. A prophylactic strategy directed against invasive mould infections for local high-risk patients may be considered as the comparative costs of treatment, prolonged hospitalisation and subsequent delayed chemotherapy favours such an approach.