Screening for occult cancer in patients with acute deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism.
Published on Jun 1, 2004in Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis5.824
· DOI :10.1111/J.1538-7836.2004.00721.X
Summary. Patients with acute venous thromboembolism have an increased risk for occult malignancy. Limited screening for these malignancies has become common practice but little is known about its usefulness. This is a prospective cohort follow-up study in consecutive patients with acute venous thromboembolism. All patients underwent a routine clinical evaluation for malignancy, if negative, followed by a limited diagnostic work-up consisting of abdominal and pelvic ultrasound and laboratory markers for malignancy. Clinical follow-up was conducted to detect screening failures. The routine clinical evaluation was performed in 864 patients and revealed malignancy in 34 (3.9%) of them. Among the remaining 830 patients the limited diagnostic work-up revealed 13 further malignancies. During follow-up, cancer became symptomatic in 14 patients who were negative for cancer at screening (sensitivity of limited diagnostic work-up, 48.1%). Malignancies that were identified by the limited diagnostic work-up were early stage in 61% of cases vs. 14% in cases occurring during follow-up. Most patients with occult cancer had idiopathic venous thromboembolism and were older than 70 years. A limited diagnostic work-up for occult cancer in patients with venous thromboembolism has the capacity to identify approximately one-half of the malignancies. Identified malignancies were predominantly in an early stage.