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Impact of malignancy on Clostridium difficile infection



The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of malignancy and chemotherapy on the clinical and microbiological characteristics of Clostridium difficile infections (CDI).


CDI patients with a history of malignancy within 5 years were defined as the cancer group. The characteristics of the patients were compared according to the presence of malignancy.


Of 580 patients with CDI, 159 (27.4 %) belonged to the cancer group and 421 (72.6 %) to the non-cancer group. More of the patients in the cancer group than those in the non-cancer group had been hospitalized within the prior 2 months (P < 0.001). Leukocytosis was more common in the non-cancer group (P = 0.034), while infection by PCR ribotype 017 strains was more common in the cancer group, with marginal significance (P = 0.07). Recurrence was more frequent in the cancer group (20.4 % vs. 9.5 %, P =0.005) and cancer was an independent risk factor for recurrence of CDI (OR = 2.66, 95 % CI 1.34-5.29, P =0.005). Age also contributed to the recurrence of CDI (OR = 1.03, 95 % CI 1.00-1.06, P =0.026).


Malignancy and age are independent risk factors for recurrence of CDI. Cancer patients require careful observation for recurrence after treatment of CDI.

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This work was supported by the research fund of Hanyang University (HY-2011).

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Correspondence to H. Pai.

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This study was approved by the institutional review board of Hanyang University Hospital (HYUH IRB 2013-07-016)

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M. S. Chung and J. Kim contributed equally to this work.

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Chung, M.S., Kim, J., Kang, J.O. et al. Impact of malignancy on Clostridium difficile infection. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 35, 1771–1776 (2016).

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  • Clostridium Difficile Infection
  • Cancer Group
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Patient
  • Recurrent Clostridium Difficile Infection
  • Stem Cell Transplant Patient