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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 54  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 39-42

A study of changes in the oral fungal flora of patients on radiotherapy for head and neck malignancies and their correlation with funguria and fungemia

1 Department of Radiotherapy, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Microbiology, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. S Raj
Department of Radiotherapy, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijc.IJC_155_17

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BACKGROUND: Patients of head and neck malignancies often develop oral mucositis and invite various pathogens to colonize over it. OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study is to identify the fungi isolated from patients undergoing radiotherapy (RT) for head and neck cancer, to determine the antifungal susceptibility of these isolates and to determine the time and week of fungal colonization. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Three specimens (throat, urine, and blood) were collected from each of the head and neck cancer patients, who were advised RT. These specimens, which were collected before the start of RT, during RT (2nd and 6th week), and post-RT (8th week) were inoculated into fungal culture media. Candida species were identified by standard methods and antifungal susceptibility of the candidal isolates was done. RESULTS: Candida infection was found in 24/42 patients (57.14%) out of which Candida albicans was isolated in 14.28%, Candida tropicalis (28.57%) and Candida parapsilosis (14.28%). Maximum isolation of yeast was in the 6th week of RT. Fungemia was found in 3/42 patients. All the yeast isolates were sensitive to fluconazole except two. CONCLUSION: Prophylactic antifungal therapy in patients undergoing RT for head and neck malignancy is particularly important to prevent intraoral colonization and infection by Candida. Screening of such patients on RT for fungal infections can prevent fatal mold infections.


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