Short-Term Risk of Arterial Thromboembolism in Newly Diagnosed Patients With Cancer

Key Points

  • Within 6 months of diagnosis, more than twice as many patients with cancer had experienced arterial thromboembolism as compared with matched control patients without cancer.
  • The risk of arterial thromboembolism varied by cancer type, with lung, gastric, and pancreatic cancers conferring the highest risk. Advanced cancer stage was also associated with increased risk.
  • The risks of both heart attack and ischemic stroke were also increased in patients with cancer. 

Patients newly diagnosed with cancer may have a substantially increased short-term risk of arterial thromboembolism, according to a study published by Navi et al in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Patients with cancer face an increased risk of medical complications. However, the risk of arterial thromboembolism in patients with cancer is not well understood.

Study Findings

Researchers found that patients who were newly diagnosed with cancer faced a considerably increased short-term risk of arterial thromboembolism. Within 6 months of diagnosis, more than twice as many patients with cancer had experienced arterial thromboembolism as compared with matched control patients without cancer.

The risk of arterial thromboembolism varied by cancer type, with lung, gastric, and pancreatic cancers conferring the highest risk. Additionally, advanced cancer stage was associated with increased risk, directly relating arterial thromboembolism to overall tumor burden and extent of disease.

The risks of both heart attack and ischemic stroke were also increased in patients with cancer.

According to the authors, these findings raise the question of whether patients with newly diagnosed malignant cancer, particularly those with advanced disease, should be considered for antithrombotic and statin medicines for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. They stress that because patients with cancer are also prone to bleeding due to frequent coagulopathy and invasive procedures, carefully designed trials are needed to answer these questions.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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