Alteration of the colonization pattern of coagulase-negative staphylococci in patients undergoing treatment for hematological malignancy

Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2012 Jul;31(7):1679-87. doi: 10.1007/s10096-011-1493-6. Epub 2011 Nov 29.


The aim was to prospectively describe the colonization pattern of coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) and the relationship between colonizing and invasive CoNS isolates among patients undergoing treatment for hematological malignancy. Fourteen newly diagnosed patients were included with either multiple myeloma or acute leukemia. Patients were repeatedly sampled from nares, throat, axillae, and perineum, and the CoNS isolates obtained were phenotypically characterized together with blood isolates of CoNS using the PhenePlate system (PhP). During the treatment a gradual reduction in the heterogeneity of colonizing CoNS was observed as well as an inter-patient accumulation of phenotypically related and multi-drug-resistant CoNS. These clusters of CoNS persisted for 2-3 months after the end of therapy. Ten positive blood cultures of CoNS were obtained and in the majority of these cases CoNS of the same PhP type were found in superficial cultures collected prior to the blood culture sampling. In conclusion, the study shows that therapy for hematological malignancy is associated with a homogenization of colonizing CoNS isolates and that this acquired flora of CoNS is persistent several months after the end of therapy. Furthermore, the results suggest that the source of bloodstream infections of CoNS in hematological patients is colonizing CoNS of the skin and mucosa.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Axilla / microbiology
  • Bacteremia / epidemiology
  • Bacteremia / microbiology
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Carrier State / epidemiology*
  • Carrier State / microbiology*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Coagulase / metabolism
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / complications*
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nose / microbiology
  • Perineum / microbiology
  • Pharynx / microbiology
  • Phenotype
  • Prospective Studies
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology*
  • Staphylococcus / classification
  • Staphylococcus / enzymology
  • Staphylococcus / genetics
  • Staphylococcus / isolation & purification*
  • Young Adult


  • Coagulase