Cryptococcus pneumonia presenting in an immunocompetent host with pulmonary asbestosis: a case report

Judah P Guy, Shahzad Raza, Elliot Bondi, Yale Rosen, Dong-Sung Kim, Barbara J Berger
Journal of Medical Case Reports 2012, 6: 170

INTRODUCTION: Cryptococcal infections pose a diagnostic challenge in an immunocompetent host. Asbestos exposure has been associated with pulmonary aspergillosis. This case highlights an interesting presentation of cryptococcal lung inflammation with underlying asbestosis.

CASE PRESENTATION: A 63-year-old Mediterranean Caucasian woman presented with progressive dry cough of nine months duration. A computed tomography (CT) scan of her chest revealed multiple foci in the right infra-hilar region, which were seen as hot lung masses on a positron emission tomography (PET) scan. These multiple foci appeared metastatic in nature throughout both lung fields with early mediastinal invasion. A computed tomography (CT)-guided core biopsy was obtained from a dominant right lower lobe lung mass. Histology showed chronic granulomatous inflammation with numerous budding yeast forms that were GMS-, PAS-, and mucin-positive, consistent with cryptococcosis together with asbestos bodies (ferruginous). She was managed with fluconazole (400mg (6mg/kg) per day orally) daily. At her six-month follow up, she had marked improvement in her general condition along with a diminution of the lower lobe lung mass.

CONCLUSION: We report a clinical and radiological improvement in a patient treated for cryptococcal pneumonia. Asbestos exposure was likely to have been an important pathophysiological precursor to infection by environmental fungi.

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