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Cryptococcal antigenemia in immunocompromised human immunodeficiency virus patients in rural Tanzania: a preventable cause of early mortality


Letang, E; Muller, M C; Ntamatungiro, A J; Kimera, N; Faini, D; Furrer, H; Battegay, M; Tanner, M; Hatz, Christoph; Boulware, D R; Glass, T R (2015). Cryptococcal antigenemia in immunocompromised human immunodeficiency virus patients in rural Tanzania: a preventable cause of early mortality. Open Forum Infectious Diseases, 2(2):ofv046.

Abstract

Background. Cryptococcal meningitis is a leading cause of death in people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immune deficiency syndrome. The World Health Organizations recommends pre-antiretroviral treatment (ART) cryptococcal antigen (CRAG) screening in persons with CD4 below 100 cells/µL. We assessed the prevalence and outcome of cryptococcal antigenemia in rural southern Tanzania.
Methods. We conducted a retrospective study including all ART-naive adults with CD4 <150 cells/µL prospectively enrolled in the Kilombero and Ulanga Antiretroviral Cohort between 2008 and 2012. Cryptococcal antigen was assessed in cryopreserved pre-ART plasma. Cox regression estimated the composite outcome of death or loss to follow-up (LFU) by CRAG status and fluconazole use.
Results. Of 750 ART-naive adults, 28 (3.7%) were CRAG-positive, corresponding to a prevalence of 4.4% (23 of 520) in CD4 <100 and 2.2% (5 of 230) in CD4 100–150 cells/µL. Within 1 year, 75% (21 of 28) of CRAG-positive and 42% (302 of 722) of CRAG-negative patients were dead or LFU (P<.001), with no differences across CD4 strata. Cryptococcal antigen positivity was an independent predictor of death or LFU after adjusting for relevant confounders (hazard ratio [HR], 2.50; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.29–4.83; P = .006). Cryptococcal meningitis occurred in 39% (11 of 28) of CRAG-positive patients, with similar retention-in-care regardless of meningitis diagnosis (P = .8). Cryptococcal antigen titer >1:160 was associated with meningitis development (odds ratio, 4.83; 95% CI, 1.24–8.41; P = .008). Fluconazole receipt decreased death or LFU in CRAG-positive patients (HR, 0.18; 95% CI, .04–.78; P = .022).
Conclusions. Cryptococcal antigenemia predicted mortality or LFU among ART-naive HIV-infected persons with CD4 <150 cells/µL, and fluconazole increased survival or retention-in-care, suggesting that targeted pre-ART CRAG screening may decrease early mortality or LFU. A CRAG screening threshold of CD4 <100 cells/µL missed 18% of CRAG-positive patients, suggesting guidelines should consider a higher threshold.

Abstract

Background. Cryptococcal meningitis is a leading cause of death in people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immune deficiency syndrome. The World Health Organizations recommends pre-antiretroviral treatment (ART) cryptococcal antigen (CRAG) screening in persons with CD4 below 100 cells/µL. We assessed the prevalence and outcome of cryptococcal antigenemia in rural southern Tanzania.
Methods. We conducted a retrospective study including all ART-naive adults with CD4 <150 cells/µL prospectively enrolled in the Kilombero and Ulanga Antiretroviral Cohort between 2008 and 2012. Cryptococcal antigen was assessed in cryopreserved pre-ART plasma. Cox regression estimated the composite outcome of death or loss to follow-up (LFU) by CRAG status and fluconazole use.
Results. Of 750 ART-naive adults, 28 (3.7%) were CRAG-positive, corresponding to a prevalence of 4.4% (23 of 520) in CD4 <100 and 2.2% (5 of 230) in CD4 100–150 cells/µL. Within 1 year, 75% (21 of 28) of CRAG-positive and 42% (302 of 722) of CRAG-negative patients were dead or LFU (P<.001), with no differences across CD4 strata. Cryptococcal antigen positivity was an independent predictor of death or LFU after adjusting for relevant confounders (hazard ratio [HR], 2.50; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.29–4.83; P = .006). Cryptococcal meningitis occurred in 39% (11 of 28) of CRAG-positive patients, with similar retention-in-care regardless of meningitis diagnosis (P = .8). Cryptococcal antigen titer >1:160 was associated with meningitis development (odds ratio, 4.83; 95% CI, 1.24–8.41; P = .008). Fluconazole receipt decreased death or LFU in CRAG-positive patients (HR, 0.18; 95% CI, .04–.78; P = .022).
Conclusions. Cryptococcal antigenemia predicted mortality or LFU among ART-naive HIV-infected persons with CD4 <150 cells/µL, and fluconazole increased survival or retention-in-care, suggesting that targeted pre-ART CRAG screening may decrease early mortality or LFU. A CRAG screening threshold of CD4 <100 cells/µL missed 18% of CRAG-positive patients, suggesting guidelines should consider a higher threshold.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Oncology
Health Sciences > Neurology (clinical)
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:29 Dec 2015 09:55
Last Modified:26 Jan 2022 07:45
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:2328-8957
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/ofid/ofv046

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