Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Risk of Active TB in Persons with Cancer

Clin Infect Dis; ePub 2016 Dec 16; Cheng, et al

Patients in the US with hematologic, head and neck, and lung cancers have a 9-fold higher rate of developing active tuberculosis (TB) compared to individuals without cancer, a recent study found. This meta-analysis included a total of 593 TB cases occurring in 324,041 cancer patients between 1950 and 2011. Researchers found:

  • In 317,234 US cancer patients, the cumulative incidence rate /100,000 population (CIR) of active TB decreased by 3-fold and 6.5-fold in hematologic and solid cancers, respectively, before and after 1980.
  • After 1980, the CIR of active TB was highest in hematologic (219/100,000), head and neck, and lung cancers, and was lowest in breast and other solid cancers.

The authors suggested that individuals with cancer would benefit from targeted latent TB screening and therapy.


Cheng MP, Abou Chakra C, Yansouni CP, et al. Risk of active tuberculosis in patients with cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis. [Published online ahead of print December 16, 2016]. Clin Infect Dis. doi:10.1093/cid/ciw838.