is a common cause of blood stream infections (BSI) in the UK. Published figures for E. coli BSI show higher rates in specialist cancer centres than in other hospitals, but the aetiology in oncology patients is not fully understood.


Five UK cancer centres coll aborated to review how affects oncology patients. A key part of this work has been an audit of all cases of E.coli BSI in patients in 2019 that met UK HCAI surveillance definitions. A multidisciplinary team of clinicians, nurses and pharmacists designed the audit to include >60 variables which may affect cancer patients.


The risk factors for BSI among these cancer patients showed marked differences from those seen in the general UK population. The affected population was younger; there was higher rate of hospital-onset infections ; and, taking into account a number of healthcare interactions, the potential for healthcare associated infections was much higher. There was also a higher associated 30-day mortality and high rates of antimicrobial resistance in BSI isolates. Common univariate risk factors associated with BSI included use of SACT, neutropaenia, presence of acute kidney injury, presence of an invasive device, antimicrobial therapy, use of PPIs and a lack of independent hydration. By contrast, haematopoietic stem cell transplantation, mucositis and recent surgery were less common associations.


This audit demonstrates differences between risk factors seen in cancer patients with E.coli BSI and may explain why rates are higher in cancer centres.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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