Empirical first-line treatment with tigecycline for febrile episodes following abdominal surgery in cancer patients

Giovanni Secondo, Francesca Vassallo, Nicola Solari, Luciano Moresco, Pierluigi Percivale, Lucia Zappi, Ferdinando Cafiero, Andrea De Maria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Cancer patients with complicated infections following abdominal surgery represent one of the worst clinical scenarios that is useful for testing the efficacy of empirical antimicrobial therapy. No study so far has evaluated the performance of tigecycline (TIG) when administered as empirical first-line treatment in a homogeneous population of surgical cancer patients with a febrile episode. An observational review of the data records of 24 sequential patients receiving TIG for a febrile episode following a major abdominal procedure in a single cancer institute was performed. Large bowel surgery represented 68% of all procedures, followed by gastric surgery (16%) and urinary-gynaecologic-biliary surgery (16%). Complications following surgery were observed in 68% of febrile episodes, with peritonitis and sepsis accounting for 59% and 24% of complications, respectively. Eight patients needed repeat surgery for source control. The mean duration of TIG treatment was 8 days. Causative pathogens were detected in 16 episodes (64%), and a total of 44 microorganisms were recovered (29% Escherichia coli, 9% Enterococcus faecalis and 9% coagulase-negative staphylococci). TIG was effective in 12 episodes (48%). The success rate was 67% when infectious episodes sustained by intrinsically resistant bacteria and fungi were excluded. Treatment failure was associated with the presence of complications and with microbiologically documented infection. TIG may be useful as a first-line treatment option in cancer patients requiring antibiotic treatment following surgery when complications are not present or suspected on clinical grounds and when local microbial epidemiology shows a low incidence of primary resistant bacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-466
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Antimicrobial Agents
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


  • Cancer
  • Peritonitis
  • Sepsis
  • Tigecycline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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