Clostridium difficile Infection Rates Increase in Patients With Cancer

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From 2001 to 2010, 1.09% of patients with cancer incurred a <i>C difficile</i> infection. <i>Photo Credit: James Gathany.</i>
From 2001 to 2010, 1.09% of patients with cancer incurred a C difficile infection. Photo Credit: James Gathany.

According to the results of a recent study, infection with Clostridium difficile in patients with cancer is increasing in frequency and negatively affects clinical and care outcomes. Patients with cancer experience several risk factors for developing C difficile infection.

Researchers assessed the incidence of C difficile infection in patients with cancer via the National Hospital Discharge Database from 2001 to 2010. This study used diagnosis codes to determine which patients with cancer also experienced C difficile infection.

Over the years included in the analysis, 20.1 million discharged patients had a cancer diagnosis. C difficile infection developed in 1.09% of patients with cancer and 0.77% of patients without cancer (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.28; 95% CI, 1.28-1.29; P <.001).

During the 10 years examined in this study, the frequency of infection with C difficile in patients with cancer increased from 64.7 per 10,000 discharges between 2001 and 2002 to 109.1 per 10,000 between 2009 and 2010 (P <.001).

Patients with cancer and C difficile infection experienced longer than average lengths of stay (5.67 days; 95% CI, 5.39-5.94), higher rates of in-hospital mortality (aOR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.16-1.20), and higher rates of discharge to a care facility (aOR, 1.74; 95% CI, 1.72-1.75; all P <.001) compared with patients with cancer without C difficile infection.


  1. Gupta A, Tariq R, Frank RD, et al. Trends in the incidence and outcomes of hospitalized cancer patients with Clostridium difficile infection: a nationwide analysis. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2017;15:466-472.
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