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Revista Colombiana de Cancerología

Print version ISSN 0123-9015


GONZALEZ-VELEZ, Samuel et al. Myiasis in cancer patients receiving medical care at a reference center in Bogotá, Colombia: 2008-2018. A case series. rev.colomb.cancerol. [online]. 2022, vol.26, n.1, pp.31-38.  Epub Sep 03, 2022. ISSN 0123-9015.


Myiasis can be considered a neglected disease; it corresponds to the infestation of dipteran larvae in skin, wounds, or natural cavities. Literature for oncological patients with this infestation is limited for Colombia.


A case series of myiasis was carried out in patients treated at the National Cancer Institute of Colombia from 2008 to 2018. Data were obtained from medical records in order to characterize sociodemographic and oncological variables and the treatment received.


Thirty-two records were found, 27 of them met the inclusion criteria. Median age was 69 years, 74% were men, 48% came from rural areas, 33.3% from areas with altitudes greater than 2,000 meters above sea level, 70% had head and neck cancer, followed by breast cancer in 14%; 40% had ECOG 2-3, and 77% visualized larvae before consulting. No patient presented with sepsis at the time of consultation, 29% presented with discharge in the infested area, 85% received ivermectin and treatment by the nursing staff; 70% received systemic antibiotics, and 60% other treatments in addition to mechanical removal and ivermectin. Median of leukocytes at admission was 10,280, while median of eosinophils was 110.


This is the first reported case series of myiasis in cancer patients for Latin America. It is more common in patients with neoplasms in exposed areas, although it can occur in unexposed areas too. Larval infestation tends not to be purulent. Further studies are needed on the use of ivermectin, other antibiotics, and the prognostic implications of this pathology in patients with advanced cancer.

Keywords : Myiasis; cancer; neglected diseases; ivermectin.

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