MRSA stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus which refers to a group of an organism which do not respond to beta-lactam antibiotics.


Unnecessary use of antibiotics which is usually seen in clinical practice has led to change in resistant pattern in the bacterial world. Prescribing antibiotic frequently even in viral infection is a misuse of such valuable drugs. With time bacteria has evolved such mechanism and changes in genome pattern that they do not respond to a normal dose of antibiotics.

Not taking the complete course of antibiotic and using broad-spectrum antibiotics is another mechanism by which resistance has developed in the Staph bacteria.

Can MRSA Be A Sign Of Cancer?

Can MRSA Be A Sign Of Cancer?

MRSA can be hospital acquired or community acquired. The words hospital-acquired means infections which occur when the patient had recent exposure to a hospital facility, nursing home or rehabilitation center. The strains which are isolated from the hospital are less virulent as compared to those isolated from the community. No matter how virulent the strain is, they hardly got any carcinogenic potential. So neither hospital acquired nor community-acquired MRSA can cause cancer. (1)


Resistance to staphylococcus occurs due to the presence of genetic element known as mecA gene which alters the penicillin-binding protein and hence does not allow binding of any beta-lactam antibiotics.

Till date, there is no evidence or direct co-relation between staphylococcus infection and cancer. There are few studies which state that eczema is a premalignant lesion. And thus the indirect establishment of staphylococcus organism and infection is being established.


As per recent data, premalignant lesions may be caused by a Staphylococcus organism. Eczema which is a skin inflammation is considered a premalignant lesion. Basal cell carcinoma evolves from eczema as per few reports but still scientifically not proven. Though there is not the direct establishment of cancer and MRSA still it is believed that adult T cell lymphoma is triggered by dermatitis and the involved organism is HTLV-1.

This has been witnessed that person having cancer are more prone to MRSA infection.

Cancer is an immunocompromized state and there is a high chance of a person getting infected with Staphylococcus organism. The patient usually develops tuberculosis and in such cases and the patient is most likely to develop empyema too. Empyema is pus contained within the pleural cavity and is infected by Staphylococcus aureus. So, it is more likely that a cancer patient may suffer from staphylococcus related infection.

Very often skin infections which are mostly caused by Staphylococcus aureus are considered to be most severe among all kind of skin infection. Toxins released from Staphylococcus aureus are not harmful as compared to toxins released from other species which possess carcinogenic potential.

MRSA causes several infections ranging from pneumonia, otitis media, meningitis, carbuncle, impetigo and many more. But none of them have got a carcinogenic potential. These are easily treated by proper antibiotic and proper care. Hands of health care worker are the main source of spread of infection and therefore proper hand washing and hygiene should be maintained.

Currently, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus related infection can be treated with the upcoming of more effective antibiotic. These antibiotics include vancomycin and ceftobiprole.

So with advancement in medical science methicillin-resistant infection are no more lethal. Staphylococcus species possess no carcinogenic potential. They cause very less invasive infections. Mostly these causes superficial skin infections.

Timely diagnosis is necessary. Though it doesn’t possess any neoplastic property culture should be done as soon as possible which will provide valid results. The polymerase chain reaction is the gold standard for diagnosing MRSA infection. They detect for mecA gene.

So as per research and surveys, there is no such evidence which proves that methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus causes cancer.

It may cause skin infection, pneumonia. Few evidences have been reported that Staphylococcus causes lung cancer but there is still no shred of evidence available to justify this statement. Staphylococcus infection is easily treatable now as a treatment against MRSA has evolved. Vancomycin is the most effective drug in treating MRSA.



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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: April 16, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer


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