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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 32

of 'Oral toxicity associated with chemotherapy'

The impact of mucositis on alpha-hemolytic streptococcal infection in patients undergoing autologous bone marrow transplantation for hematologic malignancies.
Ruescher TJ, Sodeifi A, Scrivani SJ, Kaban LB, Sonis ST
Cancer. 1998;82(11):2275.
BACKGROUND: Antibacterial prophylaxis with quinolone antibiotics has resulted in an increase in streptococcal infections among bone marrow transplantation (BMT) recipients with myelosuppression. Oral ulceration (mucositis), which frequently occurs as a consequence of chemotherapy, has been implicated as a significant portal of entry for streptococci. The objectives of this study were to confirm the correlation between mucositis and streptococcal bacteremia, determine the risk associated with this correlation, and evaluate the impact of mucositis and streptococcal bacteremia on hospital course and costs associated with autologous BMT.
METHODS: This was a retrospective, case-control study in which the charts of autologous BMT recipients treated for hematologic malignancies between 1990 and 1996 were reviewed. Twenty-four patients were identified who met the criteria of autologous BMT; their blood cultures confirmed (x2) alpha-hemolytic streptococcal sepsis. A control group of 45 without positive cultures was matched by gender, age, diagnosis, and treatment to the study group.
RESULTS: The results confirm that ulcerative mucositis is a significant risk factor for alpha-hemolytic streptococcal bacteremia among autologous BMT patients. Of the 24 patients with bacteremia, 15 of 24 (62%) had ulcerative mucositis, compared with 16 of 45 (36%) of patients in the control population (P<0.05). Patients with ulcerative mucositis were found to be three times as likely to develop alpha-hemolytic streptococcal bacteremia as those without ulcerative mucositis (odds ratio=3.02). Both independently and as a cofactor associated with bacteremia, mucositis adversely affected the length of hospital stay (LOS). Of all the patients studied, those with oral ulcerations had a LOS of 34 days, compared with 29 days for patients without oral ulcerations (P<0.05). Of patients in the study group, those with oral ulcerations stayed in the hospital 6 days longer than patients without oral ulcerations (40 days vs. 34 days, P<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Oral ulcerative mucositis is a significant, common, and important risk factor for alpha-hemolytic streptococcal bacteremia in BMT recipients with myelosuppression; it results in longer hospital stay and increased costs.
Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.