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Sepsis and Risk of Cancer in Elderly Adults

Clin Infect Dis; ePub 2018 Jul 4; Liu, et al

Sepsis is associated with increased or decreased risks for a small group of cancers among elderly adults in the US, a recent study found. Researchers conducted a case-control study in US adults that included 1,801,156 cases with a first cancer diagnosis during 1992-2013 (ages 66-115 years) and 200,000 cancer-free controls from a 5% random sample of Medicare beneficiaries. They found:

  • After correction for multiple comparisons, sepsis was significantly associated with increased risk for cancers of the colon, rectum, liver, lung, and cervix, as well as acute myeloid leukemia (AML), chronic myeloid leukemia, and myelodysplastic syndrome.
  • Inverse associations were observed for cancers of the breast, prostate, kidney, and thyroid, and melanoma, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, and follicular lymphoma.
  • Sepsis was significantly associated with 9 of these cancers in the period >5 years following sepsis diagnosis: cancers of thyroid, prostate, colon, rectum, lung, and liver, and follicular lymphoma, melanoma, and AML.


Liu Z, Mahale P, Engels EA. Sepsis and risk of cancer among elderly adults in the United States. Clin Infect Dis. [Published online ahead of print July 4, 2018]. doi:10.1093/cid/ciy530.