Pulmonary infection caused by Talaromyces purpurogenus in a patient with multiple myeloma

Atalay A., KOÇ A. N., Akyol G., CAKıR N., KAYNAR L., ULU-KILIC A.

Infezioni in Medicina, vol.24, no.2, pp.153-157, 2016 (Scopus) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 24 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Journal Name: Infezioni in Medicina
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.153-157
  • Keywords: Multiple myeloma, Penicillium, Talaromyces purpurogenus
  • Erciyes University Affiliated: Yes


© 2016, EDIMES Edizioni Medico Scientifiche. All rights reserved.A 66-year-old female patient with multiple myeloma (MM) was admitted to the emergency service on 29.09.2014 with an inability to walk, and urinary and faecal incontinence. She had previously undergone autologous bone marrow transplantation (ABMT) twice. The patient was hospitalized at the Department of Haematology. Further investigations showed findings suggestive of a spinal mass at the T5-T6-T7 level, and a mass lesion in the iliac fossa. The mass lesion was resected and needle biopsy was performed during a colonoscopy. Examination of the specimens revealed plasmacytoma. The patient also had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and was suffering from respiratory distress. After consultation with an infectious diseases specialist the patient was placed on an intravenous antibiotherapy with piperacillin/tazobactam (4.5 g x 3) on 17.10.2014. During piperacillin/ tazobactam treatment, the patient suffered from drowsiness, her general condition deteriorated, and she had rales on auscultation of the lungs. The patient underwent thoracic computerized tomography (CT) which showed areas of focal consolidation in the lower lobes of the two lungs (more prominent on the left), and increased medullary density. The radiology report suggested that fungal infection could not be ruled out based on the CT images. The sputum sample was sent to the mycology laboratory and direct microscopic examination performed with Gram and Giemsa’s staining showed the presence of septate hyphae; therefore voriconazole was added to the treatment. Slow growing (at day 10), grey-greenish colonies and red pigment formation were observed in all culture media except cycloheximide-containing Sabouraud dextrose agar (SDA) medium. The isolate was initially considered to be Talaromyces marneffei. However, it was subsequently identified by DNA sequencing analysis as Talaromyces purpurogenus. The patient was discharged at her own wish, as she was willing to continue treatment in her hometown. Unfortunately, the patient died on December 8, 2014. In conclusion, apart from T. marneffei, less common strains such as T. purpurogenus should be considered when clinical samples obtained from patients with haematologic/oncologic disorders show fungal colonies that form red pigments on the culture media and when microscopic examination suggests a morphological appearance similar to Penicillium species.