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Open AccessReview

How Chemotherapy Increases the Risk of Systemic Candidiasis in Cancer Patients: Current Paradigm and Future Directions

by Flora Teoh 1,2 and Norman Pavelka 1,2,*
Singapore Immunology Network, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), 8A Biomedical Grove, Immunos Building, Singapore 138648, Singapore
School of Biological Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, 60 Nanyang Drive, Singapore 637551, Singapore
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Sarah Gaffen
Pathogens 2016, 5(1), 6;
Received: 21 December 2015 / Revised: 8 January 2016 / Accepted: 11 January 2016 / Published: 15 January 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Candida Albicans Infections)
Candida albicans 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. View Full-Text
Keywords: chemotherapy; cancer; Candida albicans; immune system; microbiota chemotherapy; cancer; Candida albicans; immune system; microbiota
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Teoh, F.; Pavelka, N. How Chemotherapy Increases the Risk of Systemic Candidiasis in Cancer Patients: Current Paradigm and Future Directions. Pathogens 2016, 5, 6.

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