Invasive aspergillosis of the skull base in an immunocompetent patient: a diagnostic challenge

BMJ Case Rep. 2021 Nov 12;14(11):e245517. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2021-245517.


We describe the case of a 32-year-old man from Cape Verde having headache and increasing visual loss. Clinical and radiological investigations disclosed a massive destructive lesion involving the anterior and central skull base, orbit and nasoethmoid region initially interpreted as a malignant small round cell tumour. Surgical biopsies were negative for neoplasm, showing an intense inflammatory infiltrate together with fungus, later characterised as Aspergillus flavus spp. The patient was immunocompetent with no evidence of congenital or acquired immunodeficiencies. Invasive fungal infections in immunocompetent patients are rare and can be a diagnostic challenge. The best diagnostic clues include the patient’s origin from tropical climates, imaging features and the identification of fungal hyphae on pathology specimens. Although a devastating disease in immunocompromised patients, craniocerebral aspergillosis in immunocompetent patients carries a better prognosis. Available literature supports the combined used of ‘conservative’ surgical resection and antifungal therapy as the best treatment option.

PMID:34772681 | DOI:10.1136/bcr-2021-245517

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