Recent advances in invasive pulmonary aspergillosis

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Purpose of reviewThis review highlights the most important and salient recent developments with regards to invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA), currently the most common opportunistic fungal pneumonia in patients with hematological malignancies.Recent findingsBesides patients in hematology units, other immunosuppressed and critically ill patients are also at risk of IPA. Identification of patients who possess specific polymorphisms of Toll-like receptor 4 and dectin-1, both of which are involved in the immune sensing of Aspergillus spp., may facilitate risk-stratification. The use of the galactomannan assay in bronchoalveolar fluid to improve diagnosis of IPA is undergoing validation. Trending galactomannan and other biomarker results may prognosticate clinical outcomes. During intensive chemotherapy for leukemia, posaconazole and aerosolized liposomal amphotericin B (L-AMB) have demonstrated efficacy as prophylaxis against invasive fungal infection. However, fluconazole remains an effective prophylactic agent in the setting of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation despite availability of newer antifungal agents. Although voriconazole is still the drug of choice for IPA, both caspofungin and L-AMB are viable alternatives.SummaryDespite increasing knowledge of IPA and availability of newer antifungal agents, clinical management remains a challenge in the setting of a compromised host defense system that is unable to mount an appropriate immune response against the pathogen.

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