Key words Neutropenia
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Considering the limited data available, there is clearly a need for thorough, well-designed clinical research on the epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of invasive fungal infection in patients who are treated for cancer. Our knowledge has increased, but the information obtained so far is patchy and not generally applicable, as it is influenced by local problems and circumstances. New diagnostic tools have become available, but they are still insufficient in many cases. Until the value of the presently available chemoprophylaxis has been established beyond doubt, the strategy should be one of wait-and-see for patients with a low or moderate risk of developing infection. In bone marrow transplant recipients fluconazole has shown favourable results in eliminating yeast infections, but in patients at high risk of mould infections early initiation of intravenous treatment with amphotericin B at a therapeutic dose remains the best approach. The question of the optimal time point to start empirical antifungal treatment remains and has even been extended by the dispute about what antifungal drugs should be used for this purpose. Amphotericin B is still the drug of choice for the treatment of disseminated fungal infection, but its lipid formulations seem to offer a safer, though far more expensive, alternative. Head-to-head comparisons between the different formulations are required before a final conclusion on their respective efficacies and toxicities can be drawn, and it is questionable whether a higher dose will produce better results. Fluconazole appears very useful against the majority of Candida infections, whereas itraconazole is effective against both yeast and moulds, providing that adequate resorption can be ensured. The results of the first clinical trial of voriconazole in pulmonary aspergillosis have proved very promising.
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