is a fungal commensal and a major colonizer of the human skin, as well as of the gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts. It is also one of the leading causes of opportunistic microbial infections in cancer patients, often presenting in a life-threatening, systemic form. Increased susceptibility to such infections in cancer patients is attributed primarily to chemotherapy-induced depression of innate immune cells and weakened epithelial barriers, which are the body’s first-line defenses against fungal infections. Moreover, classical chemotherapeutic agents also have a detrimental effect on components of the adaptive immune system, which further play important roles in the antifungal response. In this review, we discuss the current paradigm regarding the mechanisms behind the increased risk of systemic candidiasis in cancer patients. We also highlight some recent findings, which suggest that chemotherapy may have more extensive effects beyond the human host, in particular towards C. albicans
itself and the bacterial microbiota. The extent to which these additional effects contribute towards the development of candidiasis in chemotherapy-treated patients remains to be investigated.
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