Prostate cancer 'increases blood clot risk'

Men with prostate cancer are at increased risk of thromboembolism, research suggests.

Risk of blood clots increased in prostate cancer patients (Photograph: SPL)
Risk of blood clots increased in prostate cancer patients (Photograph: SPL)

Writing in The Lancet Oncology, researchers from Kings College London found the risk was further heightened for those receiving endocrine therapy.

Previous studies established that the risk of thromboembolism is four times higher in people with cancer than the general population, although the underlying mechanism is not well understood.

There is little known about a link between prostate cancer and thromboembolism, although previous research has suggested a greater likelihood of developing thromboembolic disease after endocrine therapy.

Mieke Van Hemelrijck and colleagues assessed the risk of thromboembolic disease in Swedish men with prostate cancer receiving different types of treatment and compared them with Swedish men in the general population.

Between 1997 and 2007, 30,642 men received endocrine therapy, 26,432 curative treatment, and 19,526 surveillance.

A total of 1,881 thromboembolic events were reported.

Men with prostate cancer were more likely to develop thromboembolic disease than men without prostate cancer, the researchers found.

All three treatment groups were at increased risk of DVT and pulmonary embolism, but not arterial embolism.

Patients undergoing endocrine therapy were 2.5 times more likely to have DVT than the general population, and nearly twice as likely to experience a pulmonary embolism.

The authors suggested that the incidence of cancer and the treatments employed to treat it are both risk factors for thromboembolism.

They concluded: ‘Our findings indicate that it is important to consider thromboembolic side-effects when treating patients with prostate cancer, especially those who require endocrine treatment.'

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