Mycobacterium lentiflavum, a recently identified slow-growing mycobacterial species: clinical significance in immunosuppressed cancer patients and summary of reported cases of infection

Concise Article


The clinical significance of Mycobacterium lentiflavum, a recently identified nontuberculous mycobacterium, remains uncertain, especially in immunosuppressed cancer patients. The records of all patients in whom M. lentiflavum was identified using a gene sequencing technique between January 2001 and December 2003 were reviewed. The mean age among 12 patients was 51±20 years, and 11 (92%) patients had a hematologic malignancy. Six of seven (86%) hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients had received allogeneic donor grafts. Nine (75%) patients had predisposing risk factors for infection, seven (58%) had severe lymphocytopenia (<400 cells/μl), five (42%) were receiving systemic corticosteroid therapy, and three (25%) had acute graft-versus-host disease. Only 1 of the 12 (8%) patients had evidence of probable pulmonary M. lentiflavum infection. Six M. lentiflavum strains were initially misidentified as Mycobacterium simiae and Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare complex using traditional biochemical tests. Four M. lentiflavum isolates were tested for antimicrobial susceptibility; they were susceptible to isoniazid, ethambutol, clarithromycin, and amikacin, and resistant to rifampin. M. lentiflavum was not clinically significant, even in these severely immunosuppressed cancer patients.


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© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Infectious DiseasesInfection Control and Employee Health, Division of Internal Medicine, Unit 402, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Laboratory MedicineThe University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA

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