Life-Threatening Fungal Infection in Richter Transformation of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia/Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma: A Case Report and Brief Review of Literature

Cureus. 2021 Jun 25;13(6):e15924. doi: 10.7759/cureus.15924. eCollection 2021 Jun.


Chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma is an indolent B cell lymphoproliferative malignancy typically affecting the elderly. Clinical outcomes of this condition have steadily improved as a result of advances in therapy. However, an increase in survival is accompanied by increased incidence of Richter transformation into an aggressive lymphoma. We present one such case and delve into its risk factors and associated complications. Exposure to increased lines of treatment appears to be a contributing factor in transformation, such that those with fewer than two lines of treatment are considered to have a lower risk of transformation. Fever, rapid lymph node involvement and drastic increases in lactate dehydrogenase, as seen in our patient, are concerning for transformation and treatment options include chemotherapy versus novel agent therapy. However, patients receiving therapy are at risk for adverse outcomes such as invasive infections, particularly in those receiving consolidation chemotherapy. Fungal infections such as Aspergillus and Candida are gaining prominence in the setting of neutropenia which adversely impact survival, but are underreported. Efforts to improve outcomes may include consideration of growth factor therapy in neutropenic patients and continuing to be vigilant for early signs of infection.

PMID:34277298 | PMC:PMC8285100 | DOI:10.7759/cureus.15924