(See also Overview of Fungal Infections Overview of Fungal Infections Fungi are eukaryotic organisms that exist as yeast, molds, or both forms. Yeasts consist of solitary cells that reproduce by budding. Molds occur in filaments, also known as hyphae, which extend... read more .)
Phaeohyphomycosis can be caused by many species of dark, melanin-pigmented dematiaceous fungi including Bipolaris, Cladophialophora, Cladosporium, Exophiala, Fonsecaea, Phialophora, Ochronosis, Rhinocladiella, and Wangiella.
Although some species of these fungi may be true pathogens and cause phaeohyphomycosis in immunocompetent patients, pigmented fungi have been increasingly recognized as opportunists; almost all cases of widely disseminated infection occur in immunosuppressed patients. Dematiaceous fungi only rarely cause fatal infections in patients who have intact host defense mechanisms, although certain species may cause brain abscess in immunocompetent patients.
Clinical syndromes include invasive sinusitis, sometimes with bone necrosis, as well as subcutaneous nodules or abscesses, keratitis, lung masses, osteomyelitis, mycotic arthritis, endocarditis, brain abscess, and disseminated infection.
Diagnosis of Phaeohyphomycosis
Examination using Masson-Fontana staining
Culture to identify causative species
Dematiaceous fungi can frequently be discerned in tissue specimens stained with conventional hematoxylin and eosin; they appear as septate, brownish hyphae or yeast-like cells, reflecting their high melanin content. Masson-Fontana staining for melanin confirms their presence. Phaeohyphomycosis is distinguished from chromoblastomycosis and mycetoma by the absence of specific histopathologic findings such as sclerotic bodies or grains in tissue.
Culture is needed to identify the causative species.
Treatment of Phaeohyphomycosis
For subcutaneous nodules, surgery and/or itraconazole
For brain abscess or disseminated infections, a combination of antifungals
(See also Antifungal Medications Antifungal Medications Medications for systemic antifungal treatment include the following (see also table ): Amphotericin B (and its lipid formulations) Various azole derivatives (fluconazole, isavuconazonium [also... read more .)
There is no standard therapy; treatment of phaeohyphomycosis depends on the clinical syndrome and status of the patient.
For subcutaneous nodules, surgery alone may be curative. Itraconazole has excellent activity and has been used the most clinically, although voriconazole and posaconazole are being increasingly used with good results. Duration of therapy varies but may range from 6 weeks to > 12 months. Amphotericin B is often ineffective.
For brain abscess, treatment should include surgical resection if possible.
For brain abscess or disseminated infections, combination therapy (eg, with 2 or 3 medications, at least one of which is an azole) is often used, although clinical outcomes are generally poor regardless of treatment.
Drugs Mentioned In This Article
|Drug Name||Select Trade|
|ONMEL, Sporanox, TOLSURA|