Prognosis of Clostridium difficile infection in adult oncohaematological patients: experience from a large prospective observational study

Thais Larrainzar-Coghen, Dolors Rodríguez-Pardo, Pere Barba, Juan Aguilar-Company, Virginia Rodríguez, Gloria Roig, Carmen Ferrer, Isabel Ruiz-Camps, Benito Almirante

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5 Citations (Scopus)


© 2018, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature. The aim of the study is to evaluate demographics, epidemiology, clinical characteristics, treatment and outcomes of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) in patients with and without concurrent cancer. This is a prospective cohort study of consecutive primary CDI episodes in adults (January 2006–December 2016). CDI was diagnosed on the presence of diarrhoea and positive stool testing for toxigenic C. difficile. Univariate analysis assessed differences between cancer and non-cancer patients. Risk factors of all-cause 30-day mortality were determinate using the logistic multivariable procedure. In total, 787 CDI episodes were recorded, 191 in cancer patients (median age 64, IQR 50–73). Of these, 120 (63%) had solid and 71 (37%) haematological malignancies (24 received a stem cell transplant). At the CDI diagnosis, 158 (82.7%) cancer patients had prior antibiotics and 150 (78.5%) were receiving proton pump inhibitors. Fifty-seven (80.3%) patients with haematological and 52 (43.3%) with solid malignancies were under chemotherapy at diagnosis; 25 (35.2%) with haematological and 11 (9.2%) with solid malignancies had an absolute neutrophil count < 1000/mm3. Overall, 30-day mortality was higher in cancer patients than in those without (19.2 vs. 8.6% respectively, p < 0.001); recurrence rates did not vary significantly (11.1 vs. 11%, p = 0.936). By type of neoplasm, 30-day mortality was higher in patients with haematological malignancies and solid tumours than in patients without cancer (respectively, 25.4 vs. 8.6%; p < 0.001 and 15 vs. 8.6%; p < 0.001). Our results suggest that the prognosis of CDI (30-day mortality) is poorer in patients with cancer than in those without although percentages of recurrent infection are similar in these two patient populations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2075-2082
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • Clostridium difficile infection
  • Epidemiology
  • Haematology patients
  • Oncology patients
  • Outcome


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