Decreased serum albumin levels may be significantly associated with an increased risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) and mortality in patients with cancer, according to an Austrian study published in The Oncologist.1

Researchers led by Oliver Königsbrügge, MD, PhD, of the Medical University of Vienna in Austria looked at 1070 patients with active cancer and assayed serum albumin as part of the prospective, observational cohort Vienna Cancer and Thrombosis Study (CATS).

They assessed for risk for occurrence of VTE in a proportional subdistribution hazard regression model with respect to competing risk of death and adjusted for cancer site, leukocyte count, estimated glomerular filtration rate, and cholinesterase.

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Upon follow-up, they found that 90 VTE events and 396 deaths occurred, with a median albumin at 41.3 g/L. Patients with albumin levels below the 75th percentile were found to have a 2.2-fold increased risk of VTE, as well as a 2.3-fold increased risk of death compared with those above the 75th percentile.

“Serum albumin, a marker of a cancer patient’s overall prognosis, could be considered for risk assessment of important clinical outcomes such as VTE and mortality,” the authors concluded.


1. Königsbrügge O, Posch F, Riedl J, et al. Association bebween decreased serum albumin with risk of venous thromboembolism and mortality in cancer patients [published online ahead of print January 13, 2016]. Oncologist. doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2015-0284.