Clinical effectiveness of posaconazole prophylaxis in patients with acute myelogenous leukaemia (AML): a 6 year experience of the Cologne AML cohort

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BackgroundLarge randomized controlled trials have shown significant decreases in morbidity and mortality in leukaemia patients with posaconazole prophylaxis. However, the value of prophylaxis has been questioned in centres with a low incidence of invasive fungal diseases (IFDs) and pre-emptive treatment strategies.MethodsWe prospectively evaluated the epidemiology of IFDs in acute myelogenous leukaemia (AML) patients undergoing first remission-induction chemotherapy before and after posaconazole prophylaxis had been introduced as a standard of care. Patients admitted from January 2003 to December 2005 received topical polyenes as antifungal prophylaxis (first group), while those admitted between January 2006 and December 2008 received 200 mg of oral posaconazole three times daily (second group). Other diagnostic and therapeutic standard operating procedures remained unchanged.ResultsA total of 82 patients in the polyene prophylaxis group and 77 in the posaconazole prophylaxis group were included in the final analysis. Baseline characteristics were well matched between groups. Patients receiving topical polyene prophylaxis were more likely to experience breakthrough IFDs (19.5% and 3.9%; P = 0.003) or breakthrough aspergillosis (13.4% and 2.6%; P = 0.018) than patients receiving systemic posaconazole prophylaxis. They also had more febrile days (mean 10.7 ± 9.66 and 7.3 ± 5.73; P = 0.007), longer need for inpatient treatment (mean 53.0 ± 24.16 and 46.0 ± 14.39; P = 0.026) and a shorter fungal-free survival (78.7 and 90.4 days; P = 0.024). No significant differences were observed for persistent fever, pneumonia, lung infiltrates indicative of invasive pulmonary aspergillosis, or attributable and overall mortality.ConclusionsAfter introduction of posaconazole prophylaxis for patients with AML, the number of febrile days, the incidence rate of IFDs and aspergillosis and the duration of hospitalization decreased significantly.

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