Tigecycline, a first representative of the new class of glycylcycline antibacterial drugs, has been approved by FDA for using in the treatment of complicated skin and skin structure infections and community-acquired pneumonia in adults in 2005. It has been widely used in hospitals due to its broad-spectrum activity against pathogens. Pre-clinical studies showed that tigecycline has a significant anti-bacterial effect with low and mild adverse drug reactions (ADRs), including nausea, vomit or some other ADRs. Accompany with the huge increase of tigecycline usage in China, more and more side effects began to arouse people's attention. Here, we found that tigecycline can cause coagulation abnormalities in cancer patients, especially with hematological malignance, through clinical observation and retrospective analysis.

To analyze the effect and risk factors of tigecycline on coagulation index in severely infected patients with hematologic cancer, we screened the cases admitted to department of hematology from three hospitals treated with tigecycline from Nov, 2015 to Oct, 2019. Then we compared the differences among the prothrombin time (PT), prothrombin time activity (PT %), the international standardization ratio (INR), part of the activation of prothrombin time (APTT), fibrinogen (FBG), thrombin time (TT), D-Dimer, fibrin degradation products (FDP), platelet (PLT), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), creatinine (CRE), and c-reactive protein (CRP) before and after the tigecycline treatment. Meanwhile, we tend to establish the relationship between coagulation function and the time of tigecycline usage. In addition, for exploring the potential cause of abnormal coagulation induced by tigecycline, we evaluated the underlying biological mechanisms via Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells treated by tigecycline in vitro and subsequent RNA-sequencing analysis.

A total of 129 qualified cases were included for analysis, including 71 males (55%) and 58 females (45%), with average age of 49.5±15.9 years old. After the treatment with tigecycline, PT, APTT and TT were significantly prolonged (P < 0.05). The INR, D-Dimer and FDP levels also increased (P < 0.05), but the FBG concentration was significantly reduced (P < 0.05) which indicated the possibility of hypofibrinogenaemia. Moreover, the coagulation parameters were tremendously changed in the early stage after intravenous infusion of tigecycline for anti-infection. There was no significant change in PLT count, but the levels of ALT, AST, CRE and CRP in the patients were statistically significant declined (P < 0.05). Most of all, the liver and kidney function of the patients was recovered after the infection was controlled by tigecycline treatment. In addition, the adhesion and stretching function of CHO cells were significantly suppressed after tigecycline treatmentin vitro. Lastly, bulk RNA-sequencing assay showed significant abnormalities in gene sets associated with platelet-activation and coagulation, such as PKFP, PLA2g7, PDGFRA, PDGFRB, PAFAH1b3, PDGFA, PECAM1, PDGFC and MPIG6b. Furthermore, adhesion regulating molecules RPN13, CHL1, ICAM5, TLCN were also downregulated by tigecycline treatment. What's more, these key genes which showed above need to be further validated in blood samples of AML patients when treated with tigecycline.

Taken together, tigecycline can cause coagulation disorders in blood cancer patients. As we known, blood cancer could disturb the normal hematopoietic reconstitution in bone marrow, which resulted in abnormal numbers and functions of the peripheral blood lineages. Hence, these ADRs can accelerate the disease progression, cause severe bleeding and increase the risk of mortality in these patients. The biological mechanism study of this abnormality showed that tigecycline could inhibit platelet activation and the expression of adhesion regulators, which may increase the risk of bleeding and threaten the safety of patients. Therefore, the monitoring of coagulation index during tigecycline treatment should be adopted.


No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.

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