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Necrotizing pneumonia due to Aspergillus and Salmonella after immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment: An unusual case and review of the literature.

BACKGROUND: Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) are a promising new treatment for different types of cancer. The infectious complications in patients taking ICIs are rare.

CASE REPORT: A 58-year-old male who received chemotherapy consisting of pembrolizumab (PD-1 inhibitor) for esophagus squamous cell carcinoma one month before was admitted to the emergency room with shortness of breath soon after fiberoptic bronchoscopy, which was done for the inspection of the lower airway. A computed tomography of the chest revealed a progressive consolidation on the right upper lobe. Salmonella group D was isolated from the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid culture. The fungal culture of the same clinical sample yielded Aspergillus niger; furthermore, a high titer (above the cut-off values) of Aspergillus antigen was found both in the BAL fluid and serum of the patient. Despite the effective spectrum and appropriate dose of antimicrobial treatment, the patient died due to disseminated intravascular coagulopathy.

CONCLUSIONS: Awareness of unusual pathogens in the etiology of pneumonia after ICI treatment may help to avoid underdiagnosis.

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