High quantities of phospholipase were produced by Candida albicans in patients with cancer undergoing therapy, which also increased with the length of chemotherapy, a recent study published online ahead of print in the journal Supportive Care in Cancer has shown.1

Some cancer treatments cause mucositis and induce oral candidiasis. Therefore, researchers at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, sought to evaluate the virulence properties and antifungal susceptibilities of C albicans isolated from cancer with cancer receiving treatment.

For the study, researchers isolated C albicans from 49 patients with cancer and 21 healthy persons. Results showed that high quantities of C albicans and a variety of Candida were found in the patients with cancer.

Continue Reading

Researchers found that a significantly high number of yeast isolated from patients undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy produced large quantities of phospholipase compared with healthy persons (P<.01). The study also demonstrated that the length of chemotherapy was associated with an increase in the phospholipase production by the C albicans species (P=.03).

There was no significant difference between cancer treatment types, and resistance to antifungal agents was observed to be low.

The findings suggest that the length of chemotherapy may increase the risk of oral and systemic infection.

“Therefore, during treatment, prophylactic topical antifungal therapy may be considered,” the investigators conclude.


1. Ramla S, Sharma V, Patel M. Influence of cancer treatment on the Candida albicans isolated from the oral cavities of cancer patients [published online ahead of print December 5, 2015]. Supp Care Cancer. doi:10.1007/s00520-015-3035-8.