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Study: Cancer also increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes


Increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and vascular occlusions due to cancer

It has long been known that cancer patients are at higher risk of thrombosis. A new study has now shown that cancer also increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and vascular occlusions.

The number of cancers is increasing

More and more people are getting cancer. In Germany, the number of new diagnoses has almost doubled since 1970. After cancer is diagnosed, surgery, radiation and / or chemotherapy often follow. In some cases, other diseases must be treated in parallel with the patients. Because cancer is, among other things, a risk factor for the occurrence of thrombosis. But there are more dangers.

Risk factor for the occurrence of venous thrombosis

As the Medical University (MedUni) Vienna writes in a communication, current cancer is known to be a strong risk factor for the occurrence of venous thrombosis.

It has so far been unclear whether cancer also has a negative impact on the risk of heart attacks, strokes or vascular occlusion of peripheral arteries.

A study by researchers from the Clinical Department of Hematology and Hemostaseology at the University Clinic for Internal Medicine I at the MedUni Vienna shows for the first time that the risk of these arterial thrombosis and its consequences in cancer is also increased.

The results of the investigation were recently published in the specialist journal "Haematologica".

Risk varies within different types of tumors

"We were able to determine that the risk of arterial thrombosis in malignant tumors is significantly lower than that in venous thrombosis, but varies considerably within different types of tumor," says lead author Ella Grilz, describing the new findings.

"For example, the risk of arterial thrombosis in malignant neoplasms of the kidneys and lungs is significantly higher than in breast cancer," she continues.

This is the latest result from the prospective CATS study (Cancer and Thrombosis Study), which has been running since 2003 and includes more than 2,000 cancer patients.

The main focus of the CATS study, led by Ingrid Pabinger and Cihan Ay, is the search for factors that can help predict the occurrence of venous thromboembolism in cancer patients.

Death rate increased significantly

The current results in detail: Within a period of two years, the risk of arterial thrombosis for cancer patients averages 2.6 percent.

Although this is significantly lower than with about eight percent of venous thrombosis, the risk of arterial thrombosis is significantly higher with individual types of tumor.

For example, in patients with malignant kidney tumors, arterial thrombosis also occurred in about eight percent of the cases during the two-year study period.

In addition, it has been shown that the death rate in patients suffering from a heart attack, stroke or peripheral arterial occlusion during their cancer increases three-fold.

“The new results demonstrate that arterial thrombosis is associated with increased mortality in patients with malignant disease. Therefore, those affected need our special medical attention to keep complications as low as possible, ”says Cihan Ay.

In the following studies of the CATS study, potential biomarkers for heart attacks, strokes and vascular occlusions in patients with malignant tumor disease will be examined.

According to the experts, the “Vienna Cancer and Thrombosis Study”, which has been running for 15 years, has already brought a number of important findings that improve clinical risk assessment and contribute to a better understanding of pathophysiological mechanisms of tumor-associated thrombosis. (ad)

Author and source information

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