News archive 2010
Prostate Cancer linked to increased risk of blood clots14 Apr 2010, PR 78/10 Scientists at King’s have found that men with Prostate Cancer are at increased risk of thromboembolism (formation of blood clots), particularly those receiving hormone therapy. The article published in The Lancet Oncology is the first to show in detail an association between prostate cancer and thromboembolic disease, and should lead to increased surveillance in men with prostate cancer.
Mieke Van Hemelrijck, a PhD student from the Division of Cancer Studies at King’s comments; ‘Little is known about the specific association between prostate cancer and thromboembolic disease. However, previous research has suggested an increased likelihood of developing thromboembolic disease after endocrine therapy, an increasingly common treatment in men with prostate cancer.'
It is well established that cancer increases the risk of thromboembolism, although the underlying mechanisms involved are not fully understood. Indeed, patients with cancer are about four times more likely to develop a thrombosis (blood clot) than healthy individuals.
Little is known about the specific association between prostate cancer and thromboembolic disease. However, previous research has suggested an increased likelihood of developing thromboembolic disease after endocrine therapy, an increasingly common treatment in men with prostate cancer.
To provide more evidence, Ms Hemelrijck and international colleagues assessed the risk of thromboembolic disease (deep vein thrombosis[DVT], pulmonary embolism, and arterial embolism) in Swedish men with prostate cancer receiving different types of treatment compared with Swedish men in the general population. The investigators used data from PCBaSe Sweden, which is based on the National Prostate Cancer Register (NPCR) of Sweden*.
Between 1997 and 2007, 30642 men received endocrine therapy, 26432 curative treatment, and 19526 surveillance. A total of 1881 thromboembolic events were reported and analysed.
Overall, findings showed that men with prostate cancer were significantly more likely to develop thromboembolic disease than men without prostate cancer. All three treatment groups were at increased risk of DVT and pulmonary embolism, but not arterial embolism.
Additionally, men receiving endocrine therapy had the highest risk of venous thromboembolism. Patients undergoing endocrine therapy were two-and-a-half times more likely to have a DVT (SIR 2•48) than the general population, and nearly twice as likely to experience a pulmonary embolism (SIR 1•95)**. This risk was especially high for younger men (<65 years) and men with advanced disease. Subset analyses showed a smaller increased risk of venous thromboembolism in patients treated with anti-androgens compared with other types of endocrine treatment.
The authors suggest that this increased risk of thromboembolic disease is likely to be the result of the cancer itself (eg, advanced cancer is a risk factor) and/or the treatments and factors taken into account during the process of selecting these treatments (eg, curative treatment, such as prostatectomyand advanced age are associated with an increased risk).Notes to editors The NPCR of Sweden was started in 1996 and records more than 96% of all newly diagnosed prostate cancers and provides complete follow-up for each patient. For their analyses, the researchers used data on age, serum concentrations of PSA, treatment information at time of diagnosis, tumour grade and stage, socioeconomic status, history of thromboembolic disease, and rate of death.
Standard incidence ratios (SIRs) were calculated by comparing the observed number and expected number (using the total Swedish male population) of occurrences of thromboembolic diseases.
King's College London
King's College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (Times Higher Education 2009) and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King's has nearly 23,000 students (of whom more than 8,600 are graduate students) from nearly 140 countries, and some 5,500 employees. King's is in the second phase of a £1 billion redevelopment programme which is transforming its estate.
King's has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise for British universities, 23 departments were ranked in the top quartile of British universities; over half of our academic staff work in departments that are in the top 10 per cent in the UK in their field and can thus be classed as world leading. The College is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of nearly £450 million.
King's has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, the sciences (including a wide range of health areas such as psychiatry, medicine and dentistry) and social sciences including international affairs. It has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA and research that led to the development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe; no university has more Medical Research Council Centres.
King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts are part of King's Health Partners. King's Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) is a pioneering global collaboration between one of the world's leading research-led universities and three of London's most successful NHS Foundation Trusts, including leading teaching hospitals and comprehensive mental health services. For more information, visit: www.kingshealthpartners.org.
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