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Study Finds African Americans With Cancer Are at Higher Risk for Blood Clots


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African Americans appear to be at higher risk for cancer-associated venous thromboembolism than patients with cancer of other races, according to a recent study by Vipul Chitalia, MD, PhD, of Boston University Medical Center, published in the American Journal of Clinical Oncology.1 Several studies have shown that patients with cancer are at a significantly increased risk of developing venous thromboembolism, yet the influence of race on cancer-associated venous thromboembolism had remained unexplored until now.

Vipul Chitalia, MD, PhD

Vipul Chitalia, MD, PhD

Boston University researchers identified 16,498 patients with organ and hematologic cancers from 2004 to 2018. Among this group, they identified 186 cases of venous thromboembolism, of which the majority of the events occurred within the first 2 years of cancer diagnosis. Overall, African American patients showed a three times higher incidence of venous thromboembolism than white patients. This difference was observed in certain cancer types such as lung, gastric, and colorectal. For instance, in lung cancer, the odds of developing venous thromboembolism in African American patients was 2.77 times greater than in white patients.

Studies have shown that venous thromboembolism is the second most common cause of non–cancer-related deaths in patients with cancer and is a significant predictor of decreased survival during the first year for all cancer types. However, current models for predicting a patient’s risk of developing venous thromboembolism do not factor in race and, as such, are likely to be incomplete and inaccurate, the study authors noted. The researchers believe that this study has implications for creating new tools that integrate race as a risk factor to help clinicians more accurately predict the risk for developing venous thromboembolism in patients with cancer. 

DISCLOSURE: Funding for this study was provided by the National Institute of Health and the Evans Center ARC on Thrombosis and Hemostasis, Boston University School of Medicine. The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

REFERENCE

1. Addo-Tabiri NO, Chudasama R, Vasudeva R, et al: Black patients experience highest rates of cancer-associated venous thromboembolism. Am J Clin Oncol. December 4, 2019 (early release online).


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