Application of a standardized screening protocol for diagnosis of invasive mold infections in children with hematologic malignancies

Shannon M. Cohn, Hanumantha R. Pokala, Jane D. Siegel, John E. McClay, David Leonard, Jeannie Kwon, Charles F. Timmons, Naomi J. Winick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study describes a standardized screening protocol for diagnosis of invasive mold infections in pediatric oncology patients with neutropenia and prolonged or recurrent fever. Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed of children receiving intensive chemotherapy for hematologic malignancies who developed invasive mold infections from 2004 to 2011. Characteristics and outcomes were compared before and after implementation of the screening protocol in November 2006. The screen includes direct nasal endoscopy performed at the bedside by an otorhinolaryngologist, noncontrast computed tomography (CT) of the chest, and abdominal ultrasound in patients with neutropenia and prolonged or recurrent fever. Results: Fifty patients had proven, probable, or possible invasive mold infections. Before routine use of direct nasal endoscopy, invasive nasosinal disease was detected in 5 of 19 patients (26 %) and all had a compatible clinical presentation. Thirteen of 31 patients (42 %) in the post-screen group had nasosinal disease, and fever was the only sign for 8 patients (62 %). Twenty-four patients with nasosinal disease had a sinus CT, and radiologic findings of bony erosion or peri-sinus invasion were never detected. Eight of 19 patients in the pre-screen group died from mold infection (42.1 %) versus 4 of 31 (12.9 %) in the post-screen group (p = 0.04). Conclusions: A screening protocol including direct nasal endoscopy, noncontrast chest CT, and abdominal ultrasound was effective in detecting invasive mold infections in at-risk patients. Nasosinal involvement often occurs before specific symptoms develop, and sinus CTs are insensitive and nonspecific. Bedside nasal endoscopy precludes radiation exposure associated with sinus CT and was associated with decrease in mold-related mortality, likely due to earlier diagnosis and initiation of appropriate antifungal therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5025-5033
Number of pages9
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016



  • Febrile neutropenia
  • Invasive fungal infections
  • Pediatric leukemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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