Methods: 200 patients were included & divided into 4 groups. Group A: 50 patients with haematological malignancies treated with chemotherapy. Group B : 50 patients with solid tumors treated with chemotherapy. Group C : 50 patients with solid tumors treated with radiation. Group D (control group): 50 patients free of malignancy but having GIT complaints. Different techniques were used to detect parasites including direct smear, ethyl-acetate concentration, staining with modified Ziehl Nelson & modified Trichrome stains, culture on Jone's media & culture on Nutrient Agar & Harrada Mori.
Results: Oppourunistic parasites were more prevalent in cancer patients (57%) than in control group (43%) maybe due to reduction in local and cell-mediated responses in immunosuppressed patients that may favor establishment of some organisms. Blastocystis hominis was most prevalent protozoon in neoplastic patients (28.5%) followed by Cryptosporidium spp (23.5%), Microsporidium spp (9.5%), Cyclospora cayetanensis (2.5%) while least opportunistic parasite detected was Isospora belli (0.5%). Strongolyides stercolaris wasn't detected in any sample. Patients treated with radiation had higher rates of infection (68%) than those treated with chemotherapy (52%). Patients having solid organ tumors had significantly higher rates of infection (63%) than those with haematological malignancies (46%).
Conclusion: This study highlights importance of routine screening for enteric opportunistic parasites in cancer and immune suppressed patients as this may be a treatable cause of some of patients' symptoms.
R. Abdel-Malek, None