Infections caused by Stenotrophomonas maltophilia (SM) have documented high mortality rate in immunocompromised patients.
This nationwide multicenter study was performed to analyze the epidemiology of SM infections in children undergoing anticancer therapy (pediatric hematology and oncology [PHO]) or hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) over 2012–2019, including incidence and outcome of SM infections, as well as treatment regimens and multidrug resistance.
Cumulative incidence of SM infections was calculated using the competing risk analysis from the day of diagnosis (PHO setting) or from the day of transplantation (HCT setting). The Kaplan-Meier method was used to determine survival from infection.
During the study period of 8 years, a total number of 1356 HCTs and 7337 children newly diagnosed for malignancy were analyzed. Diagnosis of acute leukemia was a predisposing factor for SM infection. The cumulative incidence of SM infections was comparable in HCT patients in comparison to PHO (0.81% vs. 0.76%). High rate of trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole susceptibility among SM isolates was observed in both groups of patients (80.8%). Although this was the drug of choice, survival rates from SM infections were significantly lower in HCT than in PHO (45% vs. 85%, P = 0.001, log-rank test). We found the transplant procedure and lack of clinical resolution after 18 days of antibiotic therapy to be independent mortality risk factors.
The risk of SM infections and the occurrence of resistant bacterial strains in allo-HCT patients were comparable to PHO patients. Irrespective of target antibiotic therapy, the outcome of SM infections was better in the PHO setting.