Copyright © 2017 the Author(s). In cancer patients, who are frequently immunocompromised, bacterial meningitis (BM) can be a severe complication, with a different presentation, etiology, and course, compared to patients without cancer. Our objective is to compare the characteristics and outcomes of BM in patients with and without cancer. A single-center, prospective observational cohort study, conducted between 1982 and 2012, in a tertiary university hospital in Barcelona (Spain). The main outcome measure is in-hospital mortality. We evaluated 659 episodes of BM; 97 (15%) had active cancer. Patients with malignancies were older (median 63 (interquartile range [IQR] 24) vs 52 [IQR 42] years, P<.001) and more often had a Charlson comorbidity score of ≥3 (51% vs 11%, P<.001). The classic meningitis triad (35% vs 50%, P=.05), fever (91% vs 96%, P=.03), neck stiffness (58% vs 78%, P<.001), headache (63% vs 77%) P=.003), and rash (7% vs 30%, P<.001) were less frequent. There was a longer interval between admission and antibiotic therapy (median 5 [IQR 14] vs 3 [IQR 6] hours, P<.001). Listeria meningitis was the commonest cause of BM (29%) and was more frequent in cancer than noncancer (8%, P<.001) patients, whereas meningococcal meningitis was much less frequent (4% vs 36%, P<.001). Overall mortality was higher in patients with cancer (31% vs 16%, P<.001), although cancer was not associated with an unfavorable outcome in the multivariate analysis (odds ratio 1.825, P=.07). Patients with meningitis and cancer are older and have more subtle clinical manifestations than patients without cancer. Listeria monocytogenes is the predominant pathogen and mortality is higher in cancer patients.
|Journal||Medicine (United States)|
|Publication status||Published - 1 May 2017|
- bacterial infection of the central nervous system
- bacterial meningitis
- spontaneous meningitis