Opportunistic Invasive Fungal Infections Mimicking Progression of Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer
10/11/2020

Clin Lung Cancer. 2020 Oct 13:S1525-7304(20)30292-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cllc.2020.10.001. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Many studies have shown that invasive pulmonary aspergillosis, cryptococcosis, and mucormycosis can mimic radiographic and clinical features of primary lung cancer. However, more research surveying the incidence and outcomes of these fungal infections among patients with a history of lung cancer is needed. The aim of this study was to describe the occurrence and clinical outcomes of opportunistic invasive fungal infections that can mimic tumors in non-small-cell lung cancer patients.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients seen at Stanford University Medical Center from January 1, 2007, to May 1, 2020, with pulmonary aspergillosis, cryptococcosis, or mucormycosis after non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) diagnosis were reviewed. The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Mycoses Study Group criteria was used to classify patients with evidence of proven or probable invasive fungal infection within our cohort.

RESULTS: A total of 12 patients with proven or probable invasive mold infection (including 8 cases of aspergillosis) and 1 patient with proven cryptococcosis were identified, without any cases of mucormycosis. Of this cohort, 6 patients (46%) showed radiographic findings that were found to be most consistent with lung cancer by radiologists. Eight cases (62%) were suspected of cancer recurrence or progression by the treatment team on the basis of additional considerations of medical history and clinical symptoms. Most patients had active NSCLC or had a history of recurrence without active NSCLC at the time of fungal discovery (11 patients; 85%). Most patients died without full recovery (7 patients; 54%).

CONCLUSIONS: Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis and cryptococcosis can often be mistaken as cancer recurrence or progression in patients with a history of NSCLC because of mimicking radiographic and clinical characteristics.