Torulopsis glabrata, an opportunistic pathogen, was found to be the etiologic agent of infections in patients with cancer. This observation prompted a retrospective review to determine the incidence and underlying factors of infection with this organism. This study showed that T. glabrata had been cultured frequently and that the incidence of infection has been progressively increasing. During a 48-month period (9/70-8/74), T. glabrata was cultured from routine surveillance and diagnostic cultures in 167 patients, 27 of whom had either presumed or documented infection. Review of clinical and necropsy records implicated T. glabrata infections as a contributory factor in the death of 14 of the 27 patients. Etiologic diagnosis of infection was established antemortem in only three patients. Pulmonary isolation in pure growth occurred in 24 of the 27 patients. Seventeen of 19 infected patients who had prior routine surveillance cultures were colonized prior to infection. Infection occurred in the setting of far advanced malignancy or leukopenia and followed the use of systemic, broad spectrum antibiotics. T. glabrata is a frequently overlooked opportunistic pathogen which, in the proper setting, appears to be producing increasing numbers of infections.
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