In human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients, Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP) is a well-known opportunistic infection, and its management has been established. However, PCP is an emerging threat to immunocompromised patients without HIV infection, such as those receiving novel immunosuppressive therapeutics for malignancy, organ transplantation, or connective tissue diseases. Clinical manifestations of PCP are quite different between patients with and without HIV infections. In patients without HIV infection, PCP rapidly progresses, is difficult to diagnose correctly, and causes severe respiratory failure with a poor prognosis. High-resolution computed tomography findings are different between PCP patients with HIV infection and those without. These differences in clinical and radiologic features are the result of severe or dysregulated inflammatory responses that are evoked by a relatively small number of Pneumocystis organisms in patients without HIV infection. In recent years, the usefulness of PCR and serum β-d-glucan assay for rapid and noninvasive diagnosis of PCP has been revealed. Although corticosteroid adjunctive to anti-Pneumocystis agents has been shown to be beneficial in some populations, the optimal dose and duration remain to be determined. Recent investigations revealed that Pneumocystis colonization is prevalent, and that asymptomatic carriers are at risk for developing PCP and can serve as the reservoir for the spread of Pneumocystis by person-to-person transmission. These findings suggest the need for chemoprophylaxis in immunocompromised patients without HIV infection, although its indication and duration are still controversial. Because a variety of novel immunosuppressive therapeutics have been emerging in medical practice, further innovations in the diagnosis and treatment of PCP are needed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas