Patients with first time cancers may have a short-term increased risk of arterial thromboembolism, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

For this study, researchers identified 279,719 patients from the Surveillance Epidemiology and End-Results (SEER)-Medicare linked database with diagnoses of incident breast, bladder, colorectal, lung, prostate, pancreatic, or gastric cancer, or non-Hodgkin lymphoma and matched them to control patients who did not have cancer.

The study authors discovered that the 6-month cumulative incidence of arterial thromboembolism in patients with cancer was 4.7% (95% CI, 4.6%-4.8%) vs 2.2% (95% CI, 2.1-2.2%) in control patients (hazard ratio [HR], 2.2; 95% CI, 2.1-2.3).

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The 6-month cumulative incidence of myocardial infarction in patients with cancer was 2.0% (95% CI, 1.9%-2.0%) vs 0.7% (95% CI, 0.6%-0.7%) in control patients (HR, 2.9; 95% CI, 2.8-3.1).

The 6-month cumulative incidence of ischemic stroke in patients with cancer was 3.0% (95% CI, 2.9%-3.1%) vs 1.6% (95% CI, 1.6%-1.7%) in control patients (HR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.8-2.0).

The increase in risk for arterial thromboembolism was correlated with cancer stage and was variable by cancer type — the greatest increase was observed in patients with lung cancer. The observed increased risk generally resolved in 1 year.

The authors concluded that “patients with incident cancer face a substantially increased short-term risk of arterial thromboembolism.”


1. Navi BB, Reiner AS, Kamel H, et al. Risk of arterial thromboembolism in patients with cancer [published online August 15, 2017]. J Am Coll Cardiol. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2017.06.047