Coccidioidomycosis Involving Lungs and Skin: A Mimicker of Metastatic Disease

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Abstract

Coccidioidomycosis is the major systemic mycoses, considered to be 1 of the most infectious fungal diseases. In symptomatic patients, the most common manifestation is pulmonary disease, but many other organs can be affected. Disseminated disease occurs in 1%–5% of all patients affected by coccidioidomycosis and can affect any organ, with the skin, central nervous system, and musculoskeletal system being reported as the most prevalent. Here, we report a 42-year-old male farmer from the west Texas who presented with an approximately 2-month history of progressive shortness of breath and dyspnea on exertion, weight loss, and night sweats. He was treated with various antibiotics for possible upper respiratory tract infection without symptomatic improvement. Computed tomography of the chest revealed numerous subcentimeter noncalcified pulmonary nodules scattered throughout both lungs with extensive mediastinal and bilateral hilar lymphadenopathy. The patient was referred to our hospital for further evaluation of suspected metastatic lung disease. Physical examination revealed an erythematous 1.2 cm nodule on his left medial eyebrow. Skin biopsy of the lesion revealed prominent squamous epithelial hyperplasia with basal keratinocytic atypia and associated mixed inflammatory infiltrate and scattered large thick-walled spherules containing variable-sized endospores, predominantly within the multinucleated giant cells. Special stain Periodic acid–Schiff tissue culture studies confirmed these to be Coccidioides immitis. After appropriate treatment with antifungal therapy for 5.5 months, his symptoms have improved with complete disappearance of lung nodules and a partially cavitated (1.1 × 1.1 cm) lesion in the left upper lung confirmed by follow-up chest computed tomography. With this report, the authors highlight disseminated coccidioidomycosis, a great mimicker of metastatic lung disease, which was diagnosed by skin biopsy, to ensure its prompt recognition and appropriate antifungal therapy.

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