Community-acquired infections and their association with myeloid malignancies

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Introduction: Antigenic stimulation is a proposed aetiologic mechanism for many haematological malignancies. Limited evidence suggests that community-acquired infections may increase the risk of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). However, associations with other myeloid malignancies including chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) and myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) are unknown.

Materials and methods: Using the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Result (SEER)-Medicare database, fourteen community-acquired infections were compared between myeloid malignancy patients [AML (n=8489), CML (n=3626) diagnosed 1992-2005; MDS (n=3072) and MPNs (n=2001) diagnosed 2001-2005; and controls (200,000 for AML/CML and 97,681 for MDS/MPN]. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals were adjusted for gender, age and year of selection excluding infections diagnosed in the 13-month period prior to selection to reduce reverse causality.

Results: Risk of AML and MDS respectively, were significantly associated with respiratory tract infections, bronchitis (ORs 1.20 [95% CI: 1.14-1.26], 1.25 [95% CI: 1.16-1.36]), influenza (ORs 1.16 [95% CI: 1.07-1.25], 1.29 [95% CI: 1.16-1.44]), pharyngitis (ORs 1.13 [95% CI: 1.06-1.21], 1.22 [95% CI: 1.11-1.35]), pneumonia (ORs 1.28 [95% CI: 1.21-1.36], 1.52 [95% CI: 1.40-1.66]), sinusitis (ORs 1.23 [95% CI: 1.16-1.30], 1.25 [95% CI: 1.15-1.36]) as was cystitis (ORs 1.13 [95% CI: 1.07-1.18], 1.26 [95% CI: 1.17-1.36]). Cellulitis (OR 1.51 [95% CI: 1.39-1.64]), herpes zoster (OR 1.31 [95% CI: 1.14-1.50]) and gastroenteritis (OR 1.38 [95% CI: 1.17-1.64]) were more common in MDS patients than controls. For CML, associations were limited to bronchitis (OR 1.21 [95% CI: 1.12-1.31]), pneumonia (OR 1.49 [95% CI: 1.37-1.62]), sinusitis (OR 1.19 [95% CI: 1.09-1.29]) and cellulitis (OR 1.43 [95% CI: 1.32-1.55]) following Bonferroni correction. Only cellulitis (OR 1.34 [95% CI: 1.21-1.49]) remained significant in MPN patients. Many infections remained elevated when more than 6 years of preceding claims data were excluded.

Discussion: Common community-acquired infections may be important in the malignant transformation of the myeloid lineage. Differences in the aetiology of classic MPNs and other myeloid malignancies require further exploration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-61
JournalCancer Epidemiology
Issue number1
Early online date22 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


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