Cryptococcosis in Hodgkin's disease: description of two cases and review of the literature
Systemic mycosis caused by Cryptococcus neoformans frequently becomes life threatening in patients with cellular immunodeficiencies. In contrast to AIDS patients, there are only a few reports of concurrent systemic cryptococcosis in patients with Hodgkin's disease (HD). Only two of 75 (2.7%) patients with HD who were consecutively admitted to our hospital in the past decade developed Cryptococcus neoformans infection. Both had stage IVB (Ann Arbor) HD with bone marrow involvement and absolute lymphopenia (<1/nl). We have reviewed the literature and analyzed the data of 54 cases with concurrent cryptococcosis and HD. Presence of HD for ≥12 months, stage IV disease, absolute lymphopenia (<1/nl), and extensive pretreatment were the most common features among these patients and must be regarded as predisposing for acquiring a cryptococcal infection. In our patients antimycotic therapy was successful using liposomal amphotericin B (lipAmB) simultaneously with cytotoxic therapy for HD. Drug level measurements performed in one patient revealed a higher level of amphotericin B in CSF when the liposomal formulation was administered as compared with the level in CSF after administration of conventional amphotericin B. To our knowledge, this is the first report on antimycotic treatment of cryptococcosis with lipAmB in patients with HD. Regarding the favorable therapeutic index of lipAmB as compared with conventional amphotericin B, the drug should be considered as a less toxic and perhaps more effective alternative in the therapy of acute cryptococcosis, especially when cytotoxic treatment is administered simultaneously.
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