, Volume 82, Issue 9, pp 565-569
Date: 21 Jun 2003

Fungal colonization in neutropenic patients: a randomized study comparing itraconazole solution and amphotericin B solution

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We assessed the impact of prophylaxis with the oral itraconazole solution and amphotericin B solution on fungal colonization and infection in a randomized study among patients with hematological malignancies and neutropenia. Infecting and colonizing Candida strains of patients suffering from candidiasis were genotyped by random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis. A total of 106 patients were evaluated in this study: 52 patients in the itraconazole and 54 in the amphotericin B arm. During neutropenia fungal colonization in the oropharynx occurred in 11 (19.6%) and 24 (40.6%) and in the rectum in 11 (19.6%) and 23 (38.9%) courses in the itraconazole and amphotericin B groups (P<0.05), respectively. Candida albicans was the most prevalent species in both study groups. Mixed fungal colonization with Candida krusei and Candida glabrata was increased in the amphotericin B group, yet without clinical importance since infections were due to C. albicans. The occurrence of invasive candidiasis was significantly increased in multicolonized compared to monocolonized patients. In the amphotericin B group 20 and in the itraconazole group 2 neutropenic patients showed multicolonization with Candida spp. (P<0.05). Overall fungal infections were 3.8% in the itraconazole and 14.8% in the amphotericin B group (P<0.05). RAPD typing showed oropharynx strains involved in superficial infections in four of five patients. In all four patients with deep fungal infections, it appears that the colonizing rectum strains were identical to infecting strains of Candida spp. Itraconazole solution significantly reduced Candida colonization and infection compared to amphotericin B solution. Most patients remained infected with the colonized strains for the entire study period, irrespective of antifungal prophylaxis.