Isolation of Candida africana in oral candidiasis: First report among cancer patients in Iran

Document Type: Case report


1 Department of Medical Parasitology and Mycology, School of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medial Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Student Research Committee, School of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

4 Center for Research and Training in Skin Diseases and Leprosy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Background and Purpose: Oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC) is a fungal infection of the oral cavity caused by the members of C. albicans complex. Although C. africana, as a part of the complex, is considered to be mostly responsible for the development of vulvovaginal candidiasis, it may be associated with a wider clinical spectrum.
Case report: This report described two cases diagnosed with oral candidiasis during the receipt of treatment for malignancies. Conventional and molecular tests were performed on the samples collected from the patients’ oral cavities. The test results revealed C. africana as the causative agent of oral candidiasis. Furthermore, in vitro antifungal susceptibility test indicated the full susceptibility of all C. africana isolates to caspofungin. However, the data were also suggestive of the resistance against fluconazole and amphotericin B. Caspofungin was used as the main antifungal agent for the treatment of oral candidiasis, resulting in the improvement of thrush in patients. The resistance of C. africana to fluconazole and amphotericin B suggests the necessity of performing in vitro susceptibility testing on the isolates for the selection of appropriate antifungal agents.
Conclusion: As the findings indicated, the achievement of knowledge regarding C. africana as an emerging non-albicans Candida species and its antifungal susceptibility profile is crucial to select antifungal prophylaxis and empirical therapy for oral candidiasis in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.