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Dermatology Online Journal

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Folliculocentric cutaneous presentation of disseminated Candida krusei infection in a patient with acute myeloid leukemia


Candida krusei (C. krusei) is a multidrug-resistant opportunistic fungal pathogen that may cause disseminated infections in immunocompromised hosts. However, its clinical and histologic features are not well-characterized. We present a unique case to contribute to the growing knowledge base associated with this organism. During hospitalization for neutropenic fever, a 19-year-old man with acute myeloid leukemia, who underwent hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, developed a generalized folliculocentric eruption following initiation of antifungal therapy for newly diagnosed C. krusei fungemia. Despite adequate antifungal coverage and negative blood cultures, the follicular-based erythematous papules persisted. Biopsies demonstrated yeast within ruptured follicles, without angiotropism or involvement of the interfollicular dermis, subcutaneous tissue, or stratum corneum. Concurrent skin tissue cultures confirmed C. krusei. The patient remained febrile despite aggressive antifungal therapy, with relapse of leukemia and subsequent death. Our case is unusual given the development of cutaneous lesions following clearance of fungemia, with yeast limited to ruptured follicular lumina, possibly indicating a primary cutaneous source or early transfollicular/transepidermal elimination. Given the limited available descriptions of cutaneous histopathology for C. krusei, we seek to add to the understanding of its pathophysiology and aid in the diagnosis and treatment of this often fatal infection.

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