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Unsuspected PE Does Not Up Mortality Risk in Cancer Patients

Last Updated: August 06, 2012.

Cancer patients with an unsuspected pulmonary embolism do not have an increased mortality risk and have a similar risk of recurrent venous thromboembolism to those with clinically suspected pulmonary embolism, according to research published online July 27 in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis.

MONDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Cancer patients with an unsuspected pulmonary embolism (UPE) do not have an increased mortality risk and have a similar risk of recurrent venous thromboembolism (VTE) to those with clinically suspected pulmonary embolism (PE), according to research published online July 27 in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis.

To examine the risk factors and outcome of UPE in patients with cancer, M. Sahut D'Izarn, M.D., of the Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou in Paris, and colleagues conducted a retrospective chart-review study involving 66 cancer patients with UPE who were compared with two control groups: 132 cancer patients without PE and 65 cancer patients with clinically suspected PE.

The researchers found that 40.9 percent of patients with UPE had symptoms suggestive of PE. Factors that were significantly associated with UPE included performance status >2 (odds ratio [OR], 7.31), recent chemotherapy (OR, 4.62), previous VTE (OR, 4.47), adenocarcinoma (OR, 4.45), and advanced age (OR, 1.18). After adjustment for performance status and tumor stage there was no significant difference in the six-month mortality for patients with UPE and those without PE. Compared with patients with clinically suspected PE, those with UPE were more likely to have a central venous catheter and chemotherapy and less likely to have a proximal clot. The rate of recurrent VTE was similar between groups.

"The results of this study suggest that UPE is associated with poor performance status, adenocarcinoma, previous VTE, and recent chemotherapy," the authors write. "After adjusting for performance status and cancer stage, UPE was not associated with a decrease in the survival rate."

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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