Iron metabolism and fungal infections in patients with haematological malignancies.


AIM--To determine whether iron metabolism influences the incidence of systemic fungal infection in patients with haematological malignancies. METHODS--The study population comprised 74 patients who had undergone myeloablative chemotherapy. Systemic fungal infections were classified as confirmed (histological confirmation or characteristic septate hyphae) or possible (antibiotic resistant fever which resolved following administration of intravenous amphotericin B, together with either typical radiographic lesions or massive oropharyngeal candidiasis). Parameters of iron metabolism included serum iron concentrations, total iron binding capacity, serum transferrin, and ferritin concentrations and transferrin saturation values. RESULTS--Patients who developed a fungal infection had substantially increased transferrin saturation values and ferritin concentrations at diagnosis together with low serum transferrin and high serum iron concentrations. This profile was present in patients with a fungal infection regardless of the underlying haematological disorder. CONCLUSION--Increased transferrin saturation values and high ferritin concentrations may be additional risk factors for the development of systemic fungal infection in patients with haematological malignancies.

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