Cerebral aspergillosis in the era of new antifungals: the CEREALS national cohort study Nationwide CEREbral Aspergillosis Lesional study (CEREALS)

J Infect. 2021 Nov 24:S0163-4453(21)00577-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2021.11.014. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Cerebral aspergillosis (CA) is a life-threatening disease for which diagnosis and management remain challenging. Detailed analyses from large cohorts are lacking.

METHODS: We included 119 cases of proven (n=55) or probable (n=64) CA diagnosed between 2006 and 2018 at 20 French hospitals. Data were collected at baseline and during follow-up. Cerebral imaging was reviewed centrally by two neuroradiologists.

RESULTS: The most frequent underlying conditions were haematological malignancy (40%) and solid organ transplantation (29%). Galactomannan was detected in the serum of 64% of patients. In 75% of cases, at least one of galactomannan, Aspergillus PCR, and β-D-glucan was positive in the cerebrospinal fluid. Six-week mortality was 45%. Two distinct patterns of disease were identified according to presumed route of dissemination. Presumed haematogenous dissemination (n=88) was associated with a higher frequency of impaired consciousness (64%), shorter time to diagnosis, the presence of multiple abscesses (70%), microangiopathy (52%), detection of serum galactomannan (69%) and Aspergillus PCR (68%), and higher six-week mortality (54%). By contrast, contiguous dissemination from the paranasal sinuses (n=31) was associated with a higher frequency of cranial nerve palsy (65%), evidence of meningitis on cerebral imaging (83%), macrovascular lesions (61%), delayed diagnosis, and lower six-week mortality (30%). In multivariate analysis and in a risk prediction model, haematogenous dissemination, haematological malignancy and the detection of serum galactomannan were associated with higher six-week mortality.

CONCLUSION: Distinguishing between hematogenous and contiguous dissemination patterns appears to be critical in the workup for CA, as they are associated with significant differences in clinical presentation and outcome.

PMID:34838593 | DOI:10.1016/j.jinf.2021.11.014

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