Study highlights the need for more targeted antibiotic therapy in cancer patients

Published on January 25, 2013 at 5:09 AM · No Comments

Study shows E. coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae are especially prevalent in patients with lung and GI cancers

What cancerous conditions lead to what kinds of bacterial infections? If doctors knew, they could predict which patients would likely benefit from pre-treatment with certain kinds of antibiotics. A University of Colorado Cancer Center study published in this month's issue of the International Journal of Infectious Diseases shows the answer: E. coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae are especially prevalent in patients with lung and GI cancers, more so for Klebsiella if these patients have been treated previously with aminopenicillins.

"These are really dangerous infections. You think about Klebsiella - it can develop resistance really quickly. And these patients have generally been in and out of hospitals. If you can't treat the infection early, it can quickly become a serious and life threatening condition," says Andr-s Felipe Henao-Mart-nez, MD, clinical fellow in infectious diseases at the CU Cancer Center and University of Colorado Hospital.

His study looked at 462 patients with bacterial blood stream infections who were admitted to hospitals for treatment. Of these patients, 203 had cancer and 259 did not, allowing Henao-Mart-nez and colleagues to explore the clinical and microbiological differences between these populations. Interestingly, Henao-Mart-nez could show that most infections existing in cancer patients were acquired in hospital settings and not in the community, while non-cancer patients typically had community-acquired infections.

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