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Relative risk of arterial and venous thromboembolism in persons with cancer vs. persons without cancer—a nationwide analysis

Aims

An interrelation between cancer and thrombosis is known, but population-based studies on the risk of both arterial thromboembolism (ATE) and venous thromboembolism (VTE) have not been performed.

Methods and results

International Classification of Disease 10th Revision (ICD-10) diagnosis codes of all publicly insured persons in Austria (0–90 years) were extracted from the Austrian Association of Social Security Providers dataset covering the years 2006–07 (n = 8 306 244). Patients with a history of cancer or active cancer were defined as having at least one ICD-10 ‘C’ diagnosis code, and patients with ATE and/or VTE as having at least one of I21/I24 (myocardial infarction), I63/I64 (stroke), I74 (arterial embolism), and I26/I80/I82 (venous thromboembolism) diagnosis code.

Among 158 675 people with cancer, 8559 (5.4%) had an ATE diagnosis code and 7244 (4.6%) a VTE diagnosis code. In contrast, among 8 147 569 people without cancer, 69 381 (0.9%) had an ATE diagnosis code and 29 307 (0.4%) a VTE diagnosis code. This corresponds to age-stratified random-effects relative risks (RR) of 6.88 [95% confidence interval (CI) 4.81–9.84] for ATE and 14.91 (95% CI 8.90–24.95) for VTE. ATE proportion was highest in patients with urinary tract malignancies (RR: 7.16 [6.74–7.61]) and lowest in patients with endocrine cancer (RR: 2.49 [2.00–3.10]). The corresponding VTE proportion was highest in cancer of the mesothelium/soft tissue (RR: 19.35 [17.44–21.47]) and lowest in oropharyngeal cancer (RR: 6.62 [5.61–7.81]).

Conclusion

The RR of both ATE and VTE are significantly higher in persons with cancer. Our population-level meta-data indicate a strong association between cancer, ATE and VTE, and support the concept of shared risk factors and pathobiology between these diseases.

 

E. Grilz, F. Posch, S. Nopp, O. Königsbrügge, I.M. Lang, P. Klimek, S. Thurner, I. Pabinger, C. Ay, Relative risk of arterial and venous thromboembolism in persons with cancer vs. persons without cancer—a nationwide analysis, European Heart Journal 42 (23) (2021) 2299–2307

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