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Cryptococcus infection with asymptomatic diffuse pulmonary disease in an immunocompetent patient: A case report

Yong Li, Lei Fang, Fang-Qun Chang, Fang-Zhou Xu,
World Journal of Clinical Cases , Volume 9, pp 2619-2626; doi:10.12998/wjcc.v9.i11.2619

Abstract: Cryptococcus presenting as an opportunistic pathogen mainly affects immunocompromised patients, but the disseminated form of infection is rare among immunocompetent populations. The partial radiographic characteristics of pulmonary cryptococcosis mimic lung carcinoma, leading to unnecessary open chest exploratory surgery, and the lack of a gold-standard noninvasive diagnostic increases the risk of misdiagnosis. Positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT), a sensitive method for distinguishing malignant tumors, coupled with cryptococcal latex agglutination test showing a high positive rate may overcome these issues. A 36-year-old man presented for general examination, without health complaints. Routine CT showed multiple pulmonary nodules and a mass with high maximum standardized uptake value. Initially, we suspected primary malignancy with hematogenous metastasis. Although his routine fungal analysis had been negative, subsequent CT-guided percutaneous core needle biopsy and histopathology examination indicated a diagnosis of pulmonary cryptococcosis. Fluconazole (200 mg/d) antifungal drug treatment was initiated, and 1 mo later the pulmonary mass had reduced in size markedly (on chest CT scan) without any complications. Serologic and PET/CT examinations may not rule out cryptococcosis, and percutaneous lung puncture is critical under all circumstances.
Keywords: Cryptococcus / Fungal / Case report / Computed tomography / Positron emission tomography / Lung diseases / Immunocompetent / Cryptococcal latex agglutination test

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