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Specificities of acute cholangitis in patients with cancer: a retrospective comparative study of 130 episodes


Pancreatic and biliary duct cancers are increasing causes of acute cholangitis (AC). We retrospectively characterize 81 cancer-associated cholangitis (CAC) compared to 49 non-cancer-associated cholangitis (NCAC). Clinical and biological presentations were similar. However, in CAC, antibiotic resistance and inadequate empirical antibiotic therapy were more frequent; more patients required ≥ 2 biliary drainages; and mortality at day 28 was higher than in NCAC. Death was associated with initial severity and CAC in a multivariate analysis. Cholangitis associated with pancreatic or biliary duct cancers requires specific empirical antimicrobial therapy; early use of biliary drainage may improve outcomes.

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Authors and Affiliations



A.So. and V.D.L. designed the study and wrote the paper. A.So. and S.C. collected clinical data. A.Sa., P.P., and F.M. took care of patients and helped with their expertise on the subject. Y.N. performed the statistical analyses. B.F. supervised and helped with the writing of the paper. All authors have read and commented on the paper and have approved the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Victoire de Lastours.

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Ethics approval

Data collection for this work was declared to the French National Commission of Computing and Liberties (Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des libertés, CNIL, registration N°: 2080377 on 4/4/2017) and was approved by the ethics committee of the French Infectious Diseases Society (CER-MIT, IRB n° 00011642).

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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This work was presented in part as a poster presentation at the 2019 ID Week in Washington DC, USA, in October 2019 (abstract n° 1492).

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Sokal, A., Chawki, S., Nguyen, Y. et al. Specificities of acute cholangitis in patients with cancer: a retrospective comparative study of 130 episodes. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 41, 143–146 (2022).

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  • Bacterial cholangitis
  • Cancer
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Biliary drainage