Background: Dentists generally recognize the importance of periodontal treatment in patients with leukemia, with the most attention paid to preventing the development of odontogenic infection. For physicians, the worst type of infection is one caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria. Here, we report a patient with an abnormal increase in multidrug-resistant opportunistic bacteria in the gingiva during hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Methods: A 53-year-old woman receiving HCT for leukemia had an insufficient blood cell count for invasive periodontal treatment before HCT. Even brushing caused difficulties with hemostasis. Therefore, frequent pocket irrigation and local minocycline administration were performed. Results: The multidrug-resistant opportunistic bacterium Stenotrophomonas maltophilia was detected first in phlegm 2 days before HCT, and it was detected in a gingival smear and a blood sample 7 and 11 days after HCT, respectively. The patient developed sepsis on day 11 and died 14 days after HCT. Frequent irrigation and local antibiotic application were ineffective against S. maltophilia on the gingiva. Inflammatory gingiva without scaling and root planing showed bleeding tendency, and this interfered with the eradication of this bacterium. Conclusions: The gingiva in patients undergoing leukemia treatment acts as sites of proliferation and reservoirs for multidrug-resistant opportunistic bacteria. Severe systemic infection by multidrug-resistant bacteria in such patients with leukemia also may involve the gingiva. To prevent abnormal increases in such bacteria on the gingiva, scaling and/or root planing before chemotherapy, which reduces bleeding on brushing during the neutropenic period caused by chemotherapy, may contribute to infection control in such patients, although it was impossible in this case.
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