Toxoplasmosis an Overlooked Disease: Seroprevalence in Cancer Patients

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

1 Clinical Oncology Department, Kasr Al-Ainy Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Egypt.

2 Department of Medical Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Helwan University, Egypt.

3 Department of Medical Parasitology, Kasr Al-Ainy Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Egypt.

4 Department of Medical Parasitology, Theodor Bilharz Research Institute, Egypt.

Abstract

Background: Toxoplasmosis is one of the most important cosmopolitan life-threatening diseases in immunecompromised
patients. It is caused by an intracellular protozoon: Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii). The parasite can cause
pneumonia, encephalitis or disseminated disease in immune-deficient patients and dangerous congenital anomalies
in infants born to mothers infected during early pregnancies. The present study aims to evaluate the prevalence of
toxoplasmosis in Egyptian cancer patients and to correlate the prevalence with type of malignancy and the different
cancer treatment modalities. Materials and Methods: Blood samples from 150 cancer patients and 50 control subjects
have been examined for presence of anti-toxoplasma antibodies using a lateral flow chromatographic immunoassay.
Results: Among cancer patients included in this study, the prevalence of anti- T.gondii antibodies was 20% for IgG
and 4% for IgM, while in the control group it was 8% and 2% in the same order. This difference was statistically
significant for IgG (P =0.003) but not for IgM (P = 0.44). Patients with solid organ tumors treated with chemotherapy
had the highest prevalence rate of toxoplasmosis (28%). It was also found higher in males (26%) than females (10%)
and higher among urban (18%) than rural dwellers (16%). Conclusion: Cancer patients showed a significantly higher
rate of infection with T. gondii than their cross-matched control. For that reason, we recommend the inclusion of a
screening test for toxoplasmosis in their routine workup.

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