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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 28-34

Candidal carriage, isolation and species variation in patients undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy for head and neck tumours

1 Department of Oral Pathology, Meghana Institute of Dental Sciences, Nizamabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
2 Department of Oral Pathology, Sibar Institute of Dental Sciences, Takkellapadu, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India
3 Department of Microbiology, Guntur Medical College, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Lalith Prakash Chandra Kantheti
Department of Oral Pathology, Sibar Institute of Dental Sciences, Takkellapadu, Guntur - 522 509, Andhra Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2277-8632.128427

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Background: Opportunistic fungal infections, mainly candidiasis, is common in immunocompromised patients such as those undergoing chemo or radiatiotherapy and pose a great threat. Hence this study was done, attempting to find out the candidal carrier state and species variation, in such patients. Aims and Objectives: To determine the prevalence and speciation of Candida colonizing in the oral cavity of individuals attending to the cancer clinics in south India. Materials and Methods: Study groups comprised of 50 healthy, asymptomatic individuals as controls (Group I); 50 patients on : chemotherapy (Group - II) and 50 patients undergoing radiotherapy for head and neck cancers (Group - III). Mycological tests for the candidal isolation and speciation were done. Results: A total of 49 cases showed candidal culture positivity (32.67%). Candidal carriage was highest in Group II and Group III (38%). C. albicans was the most prevalent species (30%). The culture positivity and the colony forming unit/ml from the subjects of control group and the study group were highly significant, in pair-wise comparisons. Conclusion: Patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy for head and neck cancers are at a risk of developing oral candidiasis due to immunosuppression. C. albicans is the predominant isolate, but non-albicans species are also emerging as opportunistic pathogens. All may cause a similar spectrum of disease but differences in disease severity and antifungal susceptibility are noted. Hence, speciation can help to target the treatment of the disease in a much better way.

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