Infect Immun. 2021 Mar 29:IAI.00105-21. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00105-21. Online ahead of print.
The ability to predict invasive fungal infections (IFI) in patients with hematological malignancies is fundamental for successful therapy. Although gut dysbiosis is known to occur in hematological patients, whether airways dysbiosis also contributes to the risk of IFI has not been investigated. Nasal and oropharyngeal swabs were collected for functional microbiota characterization in 173 patients with hematological malignancies recruited in a multicenter, prospective, observational study and stratified according to the risk of developing IFI. A lower microbial richness and evenness were found in the pharyngeal microbiota of high-risk patients that was associated with a distinct taxonomic and metabolic profile. A murine model of IFI provided biologic plausibility for the finding that loss of protective anaerobes such as Clostridiales and Bacteroidetes, along with an apparent restricted availability of tryptophan, is causally linked to the risk of IFI in hematologic patients, and indicates avenues for antimicrobial stewardship and metabolic re-equilibrium in IFI.