Listeriosis and Nocardiosis

  • Heather E. Clauss
  • Bennett Lorber
Part of the Current Clinical Oncology book series (CCO)


The bacterium Listeria monocytogenes infrequently causes illness in the general population. In some groups, however, including pregnant women, newborns, elderly persons, and those with impaired cell-mediated immunity, including many cancer patients, it is an important cause of invasive disease, particularly bacteremia, meningitis, encephalitis, and brain abscess. Nocardia species are aerobic, Gram-positive, branching, filamentous, bacterial rods, which are most often found in the environment in soil, water, and vegetable matter. The key host defense against developing nocardiosis is cell-mediated immunity; the humoral immune response offers little protection. These organisms are considered opportunistic pathogens, causing infection in patients with impaired cell-mediated immune response, including patients with lymphoreticular neoplasia, organ transplantation, HIV/AIDS, diabetes mellitus, and alcoholism. In particular, there is a well-documented association between nocardiosis and chronic granulomatous disease (CGD). In this chapter, we present a detailed review of epidemiology, clinical presentation, and management of these opportunistic infections in immunosuppressed patients with cancer.


Listeriosis Nocardiosis Brain abscess Meningitis Bacteremia Antibiotic therapy Refractory disease 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Section of Infectious DiseasesTemple University School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA

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