AbstractBackground and Aim
Invasive fungal infection (IFI) related to surgery in elderly patients is often associated with high morbidity and mortality. The aim of the present study was to determine 1,3-β-D-glucan (βDG) levels after gastric cancer surgery in elderly patients and to prospectively evaluate the efficacy of pre-emptive antifungal therapy using βDG as an aid for the early diagnosis of IFI.Methods
In all, 81 patients aged ≥ 70 years who had undergone gastric cancer surgery between 2009 and 2011 were prospectively enrolled in the study. Patients with plasma βDG levels > 11 pg/mL (the cut-off value) were randomly assigned to either receive antifungal treatment or not (n = 13 in each group). Postoperative outcomes were assessed using various clinical parameters.Results
After gastric cancer surgery, plasma βDG levels were ≥ 11 pg/mL in 26 of 81 elderly patients (32.1%). Of the βDG-positive patients, significantly more had stages III and IV rather than stages I and II disease (44.1% vs 23.4%, respectively; P = 0.049). Fever on postoperative day 8 was significantly reduced in the pre-emptive antifungal-treated group than in the control group (36.8°C vs 37.2°C, respectively; P = 0.045). However, there were no significant differences in mortality, morbidity, βDG levels, white blood cell count, and C-reactive protein levels between the two groups.Conclusions
Pre-emptive antifungal treatment based on βDG after gastric surgery in elderly patients may help reduce the incidence of postoperative fever and suppress IFI. However, this needs to be confirmed in a larger prospective randomized, controlled trial.