Increased risk of arterial thromboembolic events before cancer diagnosis


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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A new study has found that the risk of arterial thromboembolism increases significantly in the year before cancer diagnosis. 

Researchers used a US population-based Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results-Medicare linked dataset to retrospectively examine the risk of myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke in people aged at least 67 years who were newly diagnosed with breast, lung, prostate, colorectal, bladder, uterine, pancreatic and gastric cancers and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, from 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2013 and matched controls. 

They found the risk of MI and ischaemic stroke is increased approximately 69 per cent in the year before cancer diagnosis. The risk of arterial thromboembolic events begins to increase 150 days before the date of cancer diagnosis in older persons and peaks in the 30 days prior to diagnosis. The risk was highest with lung and colorectal cancers. 

Presenting the findings in Blood, the authors recommend that patients with acute MI and ischaemic stroke be up-to-date with appropriate cancer screening, and that clinicians have a low threshold to investigate any symptoms or signs consistent with occult cancer, such as unexplained anaemia or weight loss.