Pulmonary infection caused by Gymnascella hyalinospora in a patient with acute myelogenous leukemia

Peter C. Iwen, Lynne Sigler, Stefano Tarantolo, Deanna A. Sutton, Michael G. Rinaldi, Rudy P. Lackner, Dora I. McCarthy, Steven H. Hinrichs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


We report the first case of invasive pulmonary infection caused by the thermotolerant ascomycetous fungus Gymnascella hyalinospora in a 43-year-old female from the rural midwestern United States. The patient was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia and treated with induction chemotherapy. She was discharged in stable condition with an absolute neutrophil count of 100 cells per μl. Four days after discharge, she presented to the Cancer Clinic with fever and pancytopenia. A solitary pulmonary nodule was found in the right middle lobe which was resected by video-assisted thoracoscopy (VATHS). Histopathological examination revealed septate branching hyphae, suggesting a diagnosis of invasive aspergillosis; however, occasional yeast-like cells were also present. The culture grew a mold that appeared dull white with a slight brownish tint that failed to sporulate on standard media. The mold was found to be positive by the AccuProbe Blastomyces dermatitidis Culture ID Test (Gen-Probe Inc., San Diego, Calif.), but this result appeared to be incompatible with the morphology of the structures in tissue. The patient was removed from consideration for stem cell transplant and was treated for 6 weeks with amphotericin B (AraB), followed by itraconazole (Itr). A VATHS with biopsy performed 6 months later showed no evidence of mold infection. In vitro, the isolate appeared to be susceptible to Arab and resistant to fluconazole and 5-fluorocytosine. Results for Itr could not be obtained for the case isolate due to its failure to grow in polyethylene glycol used to solubilize the drug; however, MICs for a second isolate appeared to be elevated. The case isolate was subsequently identified as G. hyalinospora based on its formation of oblate, smooth-walled ascospores within yellow or yellow-green tufts of aerial hyphae on sporulation media. Repeat testing with the Blastomyces probe demonstrated false-positive results with the case isolate and a reference isolate of G. hyalinospora. This case demonstrates that both histopathologic and cultural features should be considered for the proper interpretation of this molecular test and extends the list of fungi recognized as a cause of human mycosis in immunocompromised patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-381
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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