Taking a Closer Look: Clinical and Histopathological Characteristics of Culture-Positive versus Culture-Negative Pulmonary Mucormycosis

Amy Spallone, Cesar A. Moran, Sebastian Wurster, Dierdre B. Axell-House, Dimitrios P. Kontoyiannis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The cultural recovery of Mucorales from hyphae-laden tissue is poor, and the clinical implications of culture positivity are scarcely studied. Therefore, we compared clinical and histopathological characteristics of culture-positive and culture-negative histology-proven pulmonary mu-cormycosis cases among cancer patients. Histology specimens were blindly reviewed by a thoracic pathologist and graded on four histopathologic features: hyphal quantity, tissue necrosis, tissue invasion, and vascular invasion. Twenty cases with a corresponding fungal culture were identified; five were culture-positive, and fifteen were culture-negative. Although no statistically significant differences were found, culture-positive patients were more likely to exhibit a high burden of necrosis and have a high burden of hyphae but tended to have less vascular invasion than culture-negative patients. In terms of clinical characteristics, culture-positive patients were more likely to have acute myeloid leukemia (60% vs. 27%, p = 0.19), a history of hematopoietic cell transplant (80% vs. 53%, p = 0.31), severe lymphopenia (absolute lymphocyte count ≤ 500/µL, 100% vs. 73%, p = 0.36), and monocytopenia (absolute monocyte count ≤100/µL, 60% vs. 20%, p = 0.11). Forty-two-day all-cause mortality was comparable between culture-positive and culture-negative patients (60% and 53%, p = 0.80). This pilot study represents the first comprehensive histopathological scoring method to examine the relationship between histopathologic features, culture positivity, and clinical features of pulmonary mucormycosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number380
JournalJournal of Fungi
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 8 2022


  • fungal culture
  • hematologic malignancy
  • histopathology
  • mucorales
  • pulmonary mucormycosis
  • transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Plant Science
  • Microbiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Taking a Closer Look: Clinical and Histopathological Characteristics of Culture-Positive versus Culture-Negative Pulmonary Mucormycosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this