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The study of candidemia in Chinese leukemia patients has been limited. This retrospective study aims to investigate the characteristics and prognostic factors of candidemia among leukemia patients in a Chinese chemotherapy center.
From 2009 to 2015, 30 isolates of candidemia were detected in 19 patients with acute leukemia after chemotherapy. The overall incidence of candidemia was 2.12 episode per 1000 admissions. Candida tropicalis was the most common Candida species (n = 17; 89.5%), followed by Candida albicans (n = 2; 10.5%). The most common underlying disease was acute myeloid leukemia (94.7%) and induction chemotherapy phase was the most susceptible stage. The vast majority of candidal infections are endogenous rather than central venous catheter-related. The overall 30-day crude mortality rate was 31.6%. Neutrophil recovery (P = 0.000) and initiation of empiric antifungal treatment before first positive blood culture (P = 0.041) were associated with a significant improvement in overall survival.
Although the incidence of candidaemia appears to be quite low in patients with leukemia submitted to intensive chemotherapy, its high mortality rate continues to be a crucial problem despite the availability of new effective antifungal drugs. Early diagnosis followed by rapid antifungal treatment remains the cornerstone of successful management. Catheter removal should be considered on an individual basis. The widespread use of newer antifungal agents as prophylaxis among patients with acute leukemia may result in a decreased candidemia incidence.