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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


Incidental Finding of Cryptococcus on Prostate Biopsy for Prostate Adenocarcinoma Following Cardiac Transplant: Case Report and Review of the Literature

Unusual clinical course

Sujal I. Shah, Hai Bui, Nelson Velasco, Shilpa Rungta

USA Department of Pathology, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA

Am J Case Rep 2017; 18:1171-1180

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.905528

Available online:

Published: 2017-11-06


BACKGROUND: Cryptococcus is the third most common invasive fungal organism in immunocompromised patients, including transplant patients, and usually involves the central nervous system and lungs, with a median time to infection of 25 months. We report a case of Cryptococcus of the prostate gland, found as an incidental finding on prostate biopsy for prostate adenocarcinoma, four months following cardiac transplantation.
CASE REPORT: A 62-year-old male African-American who had a cardiac transplant four months previously, underwent a six-core prostate biopsy for a two-year history of increasing prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, and a recent history of non-specific urinary tract symptoms. A prostatic adenocarcinoma, Gleason grade 4+4=8, was diagnosed on histopathology, and ‘foamy’ cells were seen in the biopsies. Histochemical stains, including Grocott methenamine silver (GMS), and periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) showed abundant round and oval 5–7 µm diameter fungal elements; mucicarmine highlighted the fungal polysaccharide capsule, diagnostic for Cryptococcus. Cryptococcal antigen detection was made by the latex agglutination test and cultures. We reviewed the literature and found 70 published cases (from 1946–2008) of Cryptococcus of the prostate gland, with only one previous case presenting five years following cardiac transplantation.
CONCLUSIONS: Fungal infections of the prostate are rare, and occur mainly in immunocompromised patients. We present a unique case of prostatic Cryptococcus found incidentally at four months following cardiac transplantation. This case report highlights the need to consider atypical fungal infection as a differential diagnosis for prostatitis in immunosuppressed patients, including transplant patients.

Keywords: Biopsy, Large-Core Needle, Cryptococcus, Heart Transplantation, Prostate-Specific Antigen